Seemingly, Canadian reggae fusion band MAGIC! came out of nowhere, but not quite. Lead singer Nasri Atweh is no stranger to success, he had previously been involved in writing songs for chart favourites such as Justin Bieber and Chris Brown, as well as being one half of the Grammy nominated/winning production duo The Messengers. Nasri met guitarist Mark Pellizzer in a studio, their jam sessions became Chris Brown’s Don’t Judge Me and a simple reggae riff played by Pellizzer was inspiration enough for Nasri to suggest starting up a “modern day version of The Police”. Since formation and line up recruitment in 2012, MAGIC! would soon see their first single Rude go viral internationally earlier this year, and the release of their debut album Don’t Kill The Magic. Let’s take a look at our first serving of MAGIC!
“Why you gotta be so rude?/Don’t you know I’m human too?” Why was leading single Rude so successful? It’s catchy and it’s relatable, the vocal captures the emotion of being taken aback and being insistent on a decision and its instrumentation is something desirable. A true embracement of reggae fusion is evident in No Evil, the gentle lick of the guitar is infectious and the chorus is a boom of wonders; Let Your Hair Down isn’t as easy to cling onto, it’s not as captivating as its predecessors. It’s a relief when the energy returns in the fast paced Stupid Me, powerfully sung by Nasri and delivered by the band to put an ex lover in their place; No Way No has somewhat of a funky feel to it, but Paradise is a bit average compared to the rest of the album at this point.
Second single Don’t Kill The Magic is movie soundtrack worthy, for the most part it strays from MAGIC!’s reggae sound and is more of an upbeat love pop anthem. One Woman One Man is the signature cheesy ballad included on the album, however it is nicely sung and shows us another musical capability of the band; but it’s not long before the guys are on the up tempo reggae/rock attack again with Little Girl Big World. There’s nothing too groundbreaking about Mamma Didn’t Raise No Fool, it sticks closely to the band’s existing melodic/instrumental formula; How Do You Want To Be Remembered has a lighter feel to it, but is lyrically darker and optimistic about direction life.
Don’t Kill The Magic is not a bad debut effort at all from the Canadian reggae fusion quartet; MAGIC! consists of seasoned songwriters and instrumentalists, the content was bound to be well produced and effectively written. The band had successfully managed to transition between styles whilst maintaining their own midas touch, even if the concept of most of the songs were similar. It will be interesting to hear what MAGIC! do next, Don’t Kill The Magic has introduced the world to their unique sound and they could potentially only get better from here.