Taking their stage moniker after a major route through Hong Kong Island where two members of the band grew up, the talented and unique pop-rock-soul-R&B trio known as, Magazine Gap, have invested their very lifeblood into the music.
“The album represents a journey of discovery, experimentation and evolution for the band…”
Touring across the UK, Europe, the USA, and the Far East, when they’re not on the road, the studio beckons. Now, following up their acclaimed debut album, Light & Shade (which contains one of our favorite songs of all time in Slipstream), on Friday, June 5th 2020 James Keen (vocals & guitars), Alex Ho (piano & keyboards), and Brian McCook (drums & production) will be releasing their long-awaited second LP, the colorfully complex and multifaceted, What’s That About? for which we’ve already reviewed four of the album’s singles over the past couple of years. You see, the album has been a process of intention and artistic focus. All things with purpose. All things in time.
“…the band don’t believe in ‘throwaway tracks’ just to complete a project, and are only releasing a full album now that the package is finally complete.”
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
Reminiscent of early-era Maroon 5, the album opens with the woke-pop-funk of, Possibilities, a synth-heavy and spirited piece of positive sound which—given the band’s long and road-heavy history—feels like the their theme song….
“I can feel how you feel but I would say keep an open mind
All the ups and the downs of a life shared are the ties that bind
Who’s to stop us and say there is no time to change the game
‘Cause the rules don’t apply if you break them to great acclaim…”
“Keen’s writing plays the role of love’s hero in a world of chaos and distrust; an ambassador for love who argues against the wounds of time itself in order to keep the peace…” Check out our review of, Superficial.
“…a timeless throwback piece to which adult-contemporary fans can return for years to come…” Check out our review of, For The Ride.
A smooth guitar lick and full brass section bring a sense of urgency in the R&B-soul of, What’s That About, the album’s title track. It’s a story of the inevitable doubt and uncertainty experienced when placing everything on the line for what you love most dearly. Ultimately, it’s about moving forward regardless…
“It doesn’t add up
It doesn’t make sense
No it’s out of line
When you know that
They set up some algorithm
Gotta know why,
Gotta find a good light to shine
‘Cause you won’t just accept
It’s a glitch in the system …”
OUR FAVORITE TRACK… Kings, Queens & Jokers has bit of OneRepublic-ness to it. A response to the current entertain-me culture’s sedentary state of indifference, Keen’s finger-picked electric guitar melody and writing have never been more on point…
“Save our soul and save our minds before it’s all called into question
Find a truth that we can believe in or at least learn a life lesson
Face a choice to stay the course or run away to the circus
Stack the deck or play our cards with Kings, Queens & Jokers…”
“Keen’s vocals and storytelling are, in my humble (or, perhaps not so humble) opinion, virtually unrivaled…” Check out our review of, Ran For Cover.
Check out the cool psychedelic breaks in the funky dance-inspired, Body Language. It’s a classy track with no need to twerk, but you still can.
Duuuuude! The guitar and piano licks in, Calling Card! By far the funkiest track on the project. Pay attention kids: those are not samples you’re hearing!
A gorgeously taoist final piece of writing in, Jericho, Keen pleads, in the funkiest of terms, to those who would listen, to awaken, think for yourself, see past the pleasure, forward toward wisdom…
“And before you go through the motions of a ritual
Consider it’s not sinister to be cynical. “
Personal and deeply intentional. Unflinchingly positive. Painstakingly written and crafted. No fluff or fillers, no extra words. No space-filling ouou’s & aaahs. Only twelve songs aimed articulately and directly at your spirit. A maximal effort. Something upon which these artists can hang their collective hat, proudly. Magazine Gap’s second full-length album, What’s That About?, explores the great mysteries of love, friendship, community, and personal revolution with a fresh and honest approach unique to these three artists.
Minimalist by the nature, each track fills the space, and creates a full ambiance of dynamic sound—a testament to their respective and cumulative skills as a “mere” three-piece. And, of course extra light must be tossed the way of front-man singer-songwriter, James Keen. A David Gray/Tracy Chapman amalgamation, his substantive writing and classic timbre form the heart, soul and identity of this music. Please check out, What’s That About?, below.
David Gray meets Tracy Chapman with a twist of early-era Maroon 5…
BELOW: Watch & listen to Magazine Gap’s album, What’s That About?, and connect with their website and social media platforms. Please support Magazine Gap by visiting them online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!