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Now Hear This: Magic Beans - the smallest creature

Rating: **1/2

Okay, maybe I’m not the best person to review the new release by Cyprus’ The Smallest Creature. It sounds, start to finish, like an album that could have been in heavy rotation in the 90s. Awash in fuzzy guitars, with occasional nods to more proggy song structures, this sophomore release is a confident collection of songs that don’t simply hearten back to that long ago (?) era as slavishly recreate it. The problem for me is that…I HATE 90’s MUSIC!

Watch video for "Would You Blink" on YouTube below:

Seriously, this album, while musically solid, also feels musically inert, simply because IT’S BEEN DONE BEFORE! It sounds like the kind of album you would rush to the mall to buy, just to play really loudly to annoy your parents. It’s like a great tribute band, except it’s a tribute to a bunch of bands. No disrespect to people who have been missing SystemofaPearlGardeninChains (sorry, they all blur together for me), but nothing on this album sounded particularly new to me. Well-played, but not so fresh.

The album’s closing song, “The Mist,” is intriguing, mostly because of a weirdly out-of-place, arena-sounding instrumental crescendo (“We gotta hit the merch table before we go!”) and some weirdly fiddle guitar bits at the end.

There are three tracks, smack in the middle of the album, that make me think these Cypriot lads have some potential. “You Are Ready,” “Crawl,” and “Let Burn” all sound like they’re breaking some new sonic ground—crunchy guitar riffs, interesting harmonies, and UNLIKE what I’ve heard before. Although, it’s possible that they’re derivative of the three middle tracks of any album by SoundSonicTemplePilots—I never got that far into an album in the 90’s because I HATE 90’s MUSIC.

In all seriousness (because God knows 90’s music was serious), these guys are good at a certain thing, and if that thing is your thing, you’ll probably dig this album.

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