- Burn Out The Stars
Cleveland-born/Las Vegas-based Magna-Fi
open up their debut album by asking the musical question “Where Did We
Go Wrong?” They spend the next hour answering their own question by refuting
it’s own leading query. Lush with textural soundscapes but accessible enough
for almost any radio format, this is as complete an album from start to
finish as I’ve heard in some time.
The pop/hard-rock demeanor of “Where Did
We Go Wrong,” a song written out of frustration about the band’s early
lack of notoriety within the music business is a
shining example of founding members, Mike(guitars/lead
vocals) and C.J. Szuter(lead guitar), to craft catchy rock songs that make
you want to listen again. And again. And again.
Heavy on techno-window dressing, but wrapped
up in a bubbly pop-rock box, “Burn Out The Stars” stays amid the musical
curve by appealing to alt-rockers (“When I Leave You”) and die-hard metal
heads (“Down In It”) alike. This might sound like Magna-Fi have an identity
crisis or are trying to be all things to all people, but “Burn Out The
Stars” tracks scan the human perspective of moodiness and none feel out
of place or
from out of left field.
The Szuter brothers were always known for
outstanding harmonies and interesting vocal give-and-take. “Drown,” “Seconds,
Minutes, Hours” and ‘My Heaven” take their core concept up a notch. The
aptly-named “Beautiful”, with it’s Mission:Impossible-esque opening riff,
examines the life of a drug-using, club chick with the aid of the
albums finest chorus and plenty of inspiration from U2’s ‘Pop’ album and
Cheap Trick’s entire catalog.
“This Life,” a look at the regret and self-examination
of one’s path in this world, is a different kind of power ballad perfectly
slated for radio-airplay as well as arena and amphitheater audiences. Possibly
Mike Szuter’s best vocal performance, you can feel at once his contempt
for the things he gave up to pursue his long-elusive dreams and the guilt
he racks up for feeling exactly that way. A quiet masterpiece that Robin
Zander would be proud of.
While the Szuters are busy with vocal interplay,
bassist Rob Kley and drummer Charlie Smaldino hold their weight by smoothly-syncopating
rhythm interludes that are bottom-heavy, challenging and immensely interesting.
Magna-Fi could be written off as a verse-chorus, verse-chorus kind of foursome,
but that observation would be wrong. While the emphasis is on hooky hard
rock, the song writing never suffers. And never fails to impress.
Casual listeners will get off on the immediately
recognizable choruses and sweet song writing, but upon repeated listenings
the 10 album tracks, each a poignant examination of the human psyche, will
impress for their depth and completeness. The Szuters and Magna-Fi sing
on “This Life”, there’s some things you can’t get through. “Burn Out The
Stars” isn’t one of those things.
- Burn Out The Stars
1.) Where Did We Go Wrong
2.) When I Leave You
3.) Down In It
5.) This Life
6.) TV Killed Me
8.) Seconds, Minutes, Hours
9.) My Heaven
10.) Bradbury Heights
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