Record Review: Gross Magic

Gross Magic

Teen Jamz EP

Wherever, USA

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“Almost-innocent jams drenched in lo-fi goodness”

Sam McGarrigle knows his way around a song and he shows it by giving sonic nods to some of pop and rock’s best music-makers, past and present. His buoyant, debut EP kicks off with an instantly recognizable sample from Electric Light Orchestra’s optimistic tune “Mr. Blue Sky,” setting the stage for the other animated songs throughout the album.

McGarrigle pours his vocals through the same lo-fi filter as Ariel Pink, giving his naturally high-pitched voice even more of a syrupy texture, whether he’s barely singing above a whisper like in the melancholy lullaby “Dream Gurl,” or unabashedly crooning on the album’s title track, complete with doo-wop background vocals. Not even his guitar is safe from tampering, as it blares an ear-catching riff reminiscent of The Flaming Lips’ “She Don’t Use Jelly” on the track “Sweetest Touch.”

It’s evident upon first listen that this young man has done his musical homework. The collection of songs showcases McGarrigle’s ability to pay homage to some of his influences without simply mimicking them. Although the album seems to end much too quickly, this bite-sized chunk of well-crafted dream-pop offers the perfect twist of eccentricity, personality and melodic mastery. (The Sounds of Sweet Nothing)

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