There’s been no shortage of American bands declaring their love for British music through the appropriation of our bands’ sonic characteristics and vice versa. After all, the grass is always greener. San Francisco’s Magic Bullets could be accused of the same, their influences worn unashamedly on their sleeves. Influences like The Wedding Present, Orange Juice and The Smiths might give away the musical world they inhabit on this, their eponymous second LP, but hiding behind the obvious touchstones are clues to the city and scene they call home.
The album might set out it’s stall from the off with the Smithsian chime of ‘A Day Not So Far Off’ and ‘Millions Of People Running In Circles’ might be mistaken for a sped up version of Orange Juice’s ‘A Million Pleading Faces’ but Magic Bullets are not just here to pay their respects to the bands they love. Taking the groove and the joy of their influences, they dash their bitesized rockets of Anglophilic 80s indie jangle with California’s sunny disposition and west coast breeze.
Buoyant and fun, Magic Bullets is for the most part a spring through perect summer days, the likes of ‘On Top Of The World’ possessing irresistible tropical bounce and even ‘A Name Sits Heaviest On My Heart’ – that asks “How can I give a heart when it’s not mine to give?” – wrapping a less cheerful topic in warm guitars and piano glitz. The more sombre, reflective pall of ‘China Beach’ with it’s swoonsome minor notes and murmurs is the only real departure from the spirited tone set on the rest of the record and all the better for it, providing a momentary grey curtain to fall on the otherwise glistening rainbow of of joy.
Magic Bullets might have been through their ups and downs – they’ve had more line up changes than even the most serial member shedders – but it doesn’t show here. What does, however, is just why they’ve been garnering praise the other side of the Atlantic from the likes of Pitchfork and Brooklyn Vegan – their knack for taking the best parts of their favourite bands and twisting them into something brimming with their own personality and experience.