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Now Hear This: When Love's a Stranger (EP) - Magical Beasts


Rating: ****1/2

Magical Beasts is a damn fine name for a band.

These Chicago-based friends have been busy as they have the EP that I'm reviewing now "When Love's a Stranger" and the LP "Peninsula" that I'm reviewing later in the week both dropping on May 1st.

They are billed as an Americana/Folk band and that kinda stuff is generally right up my alley so needless to say I'm pretty stoked to check it out.

So let's not waste any more time and get right into "When Love's a Stranger" shall we?

"New York" is the first track and it's a sad and somber one. It reminds me of Wilco when Wilco is at their best. There isn't any rush here. The song unfolds at its own pace and I wouldn't want it any other way. Title track "When Love's a Stranger" is next and it's another sad love song. These guys really know how to make a delightful bummer tune. "Lady Bird" grooves along at a Dylan-esque pace. This one might be my favorite song on the album. "Someone to Lift the Blue" sounds like Paul Simon. It's usually a good sign when all of the noticeable influences are completely amazing. This is another great tune. So far this EP just makes me more and more excited to check out the LP. "Erin and the Storm" is the final song on the EP and it might be the saddest sounding one yet. It moves along like a dark hymn of hopelessness. An excellent finale to the record.

This is a great EP for those of us that love dwelling in the sad corners of the mind. It's well-sung and well-played and that makes the sad lyrical content all the more resonating. Pick this one up.