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Magna-Fi - Burn Out The Stars 
By samdamonkey

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.


CD Info 

Magna-Fi - Burn Out The Stars
Label: Aezra Records
Rating
 
Tracks:
1.) Where Did We Go Wrong
2.) When I Leave You
3.) Down In It
4.) Drown
5.) This Life
6.) TV Killed Me
7.) Beautiful
8.) Seconds, Minutes, Hours
9.) My Heaven
10.) Bradbury Heights
 
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online


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