I must admit, I'm excited and a little nervous to be writing my very first review for The Metal Cell, but above all, I’m grateful for the opportunity to bring another element to this well-established podcast. For my maiden voyage, Richie has handed me an album from the brilliant Magnapinna, and after just one listen, Party Rumours has literally blindfolded me, wrapped a bungee cord around my ankles and kicked me from a plane! In free fall, my life as a music lover is flashing before my eyes, hurtling past decades, trends and scenes. Grunge, Indie, Metal and Punk movements have my eyes streaming and my ears ringing during my frenzied descent. When the cord is finally maxed out, it whips me back up towards the sky, as bands like Faith No More and System Of A Down play out the soundtrack right to the end.
The Magnapinna have taken all that's great about music over the last twenty-five years and made it feel fresh and alive again. The energy, musicianship and overall vibe is electrifying on Party Rumours. Here's a brief run through the record and here's hoping it whets the appetite for its Valentine's release!
The opening track I Kennedy is an immediate favourite for me on this album. I really hate to constantly compare bands to others, but the Faith No More influence hangs on every word and every riff. It’s short, it’s powerful and it punches you square in the jaw. There’s a high-speed tirade that closes the track, but it also opens the gateways for the rest of the album. It’s one of those opening tracks that gives you an indication where the album is going without ruining too many of the surprises that are littered right throughout the album.
The title track Party Rumours is a short groovy melody that requests your participation in chanting the chorus, “try and live with it!" A sharp short shot of fun and a nod to the early 2000’s.
Monday is one of those songs that grabs you by the neck and hurtles you across the dance floor amidst a fevered rush to the stage, with its funky System Of A Down Radio/Video Inspired hooks and vibes. Without a moment to gasp for air, Avalanche begins with a mudslide of chugging riffs and dual lead swells that complement the crisp clean vocals that are delivered with swagger and a carefree attitude, courtesy of Xtian. Avalanche’s stoner-rock rhythms rattle and roll as chants from Howard's backing vocals give the track huge depth and attitude. “Heave and roll” chants ricochet from ear to ear right through to the final narrative… “Follow your destiny, you must believe in me”.
The hooks continue as Decision Time waltzes in unannounced with a groove that crawls deep under your skin, like a tick in the long grass that finds a home in the warmest crevice of your being. The rhythm is addictive, powering between flashes of Faith No More and Red Hot Chili Peppers...well, pre-Californication anyway, y'know, back in the good ole days! The album gets momentarily flipped on its head as the listener is synthesised into the very Irish, and very tongue-in-cheek parody Gay Byrne Cosplay. The dance inspired bass lines and the deep rooted “techno techno techno techno” lyrics will be imprinted on your brain for days, wrecking all heads around you.
Creep is a kind of radio friendly track, simply because of its crisp clean guitars and cheeky vocal delivery. Those female backing vocals act as an extra layer of insulation around the track, warming you to every hook and nuance that pepper the track as the song ploughs along. If you weren’t already rocking out of your seat after Creep, more roguery and mischief is splattered across the flamboyant NFR. Catchy choruses and a high-octane barrage of guitars from Howard and James, fused with Ed's crashing drums whip up a frenzy of quirky antics and chopping vocals.
Gloria funks the shit out of it with a wicked bass line courtesy of Mike, that leads the charge for guitars to shred in a way System Of A Down did but try and visualise Mike Patton fronting this make-believe line up. Chants and chugs barrel their way through the track before opening into a chorus of Gloria, Magnapinna style. Change the frequency, It’s an anomaly. A live favourite I guarantee.
The final two tracks, Widow Maker and Doxxing are of a similar vein musically with Widow Maker rattling the ribcage with its deathly, guttural growls that trade off against Xtian's clean acrobatic delivery. A fury of noise and an abrupt press of the eject button ends the track before the fun comes to an end with the Pantera inspired intro of Doxxing, and its gritty and chunky riffs that grind and pummel their way over Xtian's effervescent vocal onslaught. A fitting end to an album that is full of energy and ideas, and it delivered each and every time.
When you listen to The Magnapinna, don't mistake fun for absurdity. These guys can play and have a natural flair for making music that's interesting, explosive and dynamic. Hybridizing modern metal with the funkier sounds of past decades has given *The Magnapinna * their very own USP and are not afraid to flaunt it. A stellar release.