Listing will be activated at 6pm on Saturday August 29th If A Copy is still Available
The 15th anniversary of the debut Magic Numbers album.Released in it’s orginal limited format, including the one sided limited 7″.The vinyl is Crystal Clear 2LP + 7” Time creates it’s own mirror and within it comes new reflections.Fifteen years later I find myself listening and reflecting on our debut album in a way that has also made me reflect upon my life.Just who was I making that record, writing those songs, what did we want, what did we achieve? Perhaps you too will be thinking similar things as you listen and reflect upon your own personal journey, especially if this record soundtracked your life all those years gone by….If you are listening to this for the very first time, may I introduce you to…
The Magic Numbers
The Stodart’s & The Gannon’s.
We wanted to create music that was timeless.
We wanted to create a band that you could believe in.
We wanted to break your heart whilst lifting your spirit.
We wanted to make a classic debut album.
In 2004 The Magic Numbers were playing live almost every other night around London, making friends that soon grew into a following that spread the word the old school way, by word of mouth.People telling people about this new group comprising of two sets of brothers and sisters, who were singing a kind of country-soul-pop music with three part harmonies.From the outside things seemed to be happening very quickly, but I’d been writing songs and playing empty venues with our drummer Sean for 10 years before this momentum started building, and for us it really was always just a matter of time…but it sure took it’s sweet time.Honestly though, it was only when our sisters Michele & Angela brought their magic to the band did anyone start taking notice, as then we discovered a sound.There was an energy between us that was somewhat frenetic, it was powerful, we knew we had something special and unique and because of that it also made us very cautious and protective.
Fifteen years ago it felt like we were on top of the world, capable of anything, full of promise, full of innocence but also full of anxiety, still recovering from loss and having nothing.We literally had nothing but each other and this music.So many dreams of ours started coming true, from selling out shows and hearing people sing along to our songs in the crowd, to being given the opportunity to go into the studio by Heavenly.The biggest dream was to make a record.Jeff Barrett & Martin Kelly’s belief in the band and myself as a songwriter at that time really gave us that extra confidence and boost that I think every artist needs whether they’d like to admit it or not.So there we were, about to make this record.
Going into the studio can be a very daunting experience for a band, especially when the only real experience you’ve ever had was some home recording with a 4 track.We chose to work with Craig Silvey because we loved him straight away as a person and felt like he understood what we wanted to achieve.He was amazing at putting us at ease and not having us react
to that red light fever that sometimes creeps up on you.He wanted to stay true to what he’d seen us do live and just try and enhance that sonically as best as he could.
We had a shared vision of not wanting there to be too many overdubs on the record, as the core elements between the four of us when we played live was already telling the story in the way we had arranged the songs.It’s funny now to think that we ended up playing these huge festivals with literally a guitar tuner between us as we didn’t want anything else to colour the sound of our guitars being plugged straight into our amplifiers.
It’s always the songs for me that make a great record and we had the songs.
My sister Michele & I sat at our mum and dad’s and said “Right let’s write a song in D major” and I started pulsing on that opening chord and Michele’s bass line took us on a journey like they always do, that melodic hooky driving thing that she does is key to what makes this music.We had so much fun writing ‘Mornings Eleven’ that I feel the spirit of that moment was captured in the song.We never really said it out loud to each other at the time but we both knew we were trying to write our very own ‘Good Vibrations’ We’d have never thought that it would be the opening song on our debut album.
Some of the songs on this album just appeared fully formed.’This Love’ in particular was written pretty soon after I had learnt of our grandmother’s death in New York, I was heartbroken that I wasn’t there for her in those last days especially as she had raised me as a little boy.I can clearly remember playing that opening triplet guitar figure and the words and melody just came pouring out like they were always there, the same thing with
‘Which Way To Happy’ I remember the feeling of playing catch up to what was coming out.Over the years I’ve learnt that it’s a very rare thing, songs appearing fully formed like that, it still surprises me when they do arrive like a memory of some kind.’Love’s A Game’ felt like it had always existed, in fact for a very long time I would ask people “But does it remind you of anything?” I don’t remember writing ‘Forever Lost’ at all.I remember playing it to the band and us rehearsing it, having fun with the arrangement but no recollection of writing it.
So many songs came from such sad places, the end of a long term relationship, death in the family, feeling so lost and vulnerable, this yearning for something else, to be someone else but I guess unknowingly we disguised it with harmonies and hooks.
‘Love Me Like You’ was definitely one of those, no one spoke of the meaning of the song when I first played it, we all just dived straight in and started having fun with hooks and skips in the rhythm.It was the baby of the bunch, as it was only written a few months before we began recording, whereas ‘Try’ was probably the eldest of almost 2 years.Then there’s the duet between Angie and myself ‘I See You You See Me’.My mum and dad were arguing downstairs and I knew it would only be a matter of time before they would make up and laugh about how ridiculous they were both being.I based the song on that kind of love, one that sees through everything.Angela’s voice on that still melts my heart.
I’d bought a set of these glockenspiel tone bars from a charity shop in Hanwell one afternoon walking home from signing on at the job-centre and all the way back I was thinking about this much more tender arrangement of a song I’d written called ‘Hymn For Her’.The climax of the song on the third chorus was originally how it was all throughout.I
remember that day working on it with Michele and Angela as we were so excited about how it turned out we decided to play it live that night to a small few.
There’s so much love and hope and joy and honesty in this album.So much fun in the arrangements, so much youth and innocence in our voices.It encapsulates a very precious time within the four of our lives.I’m still our biggest fan.
Fifteen years later.
We’re still wanting to create music that is timeless.
We’re still wanting to be a band that you can believe in.
We’re still wanting to break your heart whilst lifting your spirit.
But we can’t ever make that first album again, this is it, we captured that moment in time…..and upon reflection it surpassed all of our wildest expectations.
Hope you enjoy listening.