After the "1981" single last year and the recent split with Noise By Numbers, the Magnificent’s follow-up to their first album Pay The Crimes quickly became a must have no-brainer for me given the band's propensity for being able to write good, honest punk rock tuneage that almost always hits the mark.
Opening the album is that aforementioned single, looking back just over 30 years now to the events of the day, many which had quite an impact on the world and others that really shouldn’t have but did. This is a good choice to commence proceedings with its rollicking sing-along quality and is followed by “Foreign Legion,” which begins with a Pinhead Gunpowder-style guitar, some Ali McMordie (Stiff Little Fingers) bass lines and more of the catchiness one attributes to this trio. When you’ve got one song named after a year in the last millennium why not have another, so next up is “1990,” and with the refrain “My head’s still moving on but my heart's in 1990” it’s a nostalgia trip of sorts. There are some brief but nicely placed female vocals towards the end of this track which I like.
“Working Mens Club (Part 3)” is a more upbeat, thrashier affair with quite a bouncy bass (reminding me of Rancid a bit), giving you a chance to punch the air and sing-along for a whole one minute and 48 seconds--the shortest song on the record. “Hold My Drink Up High” has a riff at the start which reminds me of something I’ve heard before but for the life of me I cannot recall what. Still, it grabs my attention and once again provides the chance to get those fists in the air as the Magnificent does what it does so well.
“BBQ & Grasshoppers” slows things down a bit and has a real anthemic quality to it, reminding me that it’s not all about leaping around like a 46-year-old idiot in your kitchen and I thank the band for giving me that breather. “Longshot” is delivered with slightly gruffer vocals and has a rockier feel to it which adds something different to the album.
“Buy More Crap” resonates with me especially as a lot of the Western world has just come out of the annual spending festival of Christmas. This addresses the homogenous nature of the world and how so many people are almost programmed like robots to just buy crap constantly. The positive message in the song is that we should all try to grab back our towns and make them more than revolving around shopping centers and those temples of greed that people flock to purchase more useless items.
“Walk A Mile In My Jeans” has a Jawbreaker feel at times and there are some similarities between the sound of the two bands but not enough for anyone to consider that the Brits are just copying their Trans-Atlantic cousins.
The final track, “King of the Denim Jacket,” is also featured on the split with Noise By Numbers and really by now all you need to know is that this is a Magnificent song so it’s going to be good: I’ve been singing “This is My Hollywood” for days now as it’s got stuck in my head and doesn’t want to come out, and to be honest I’m not looking to eject it any time soon.
The Magnificent trades in punk rock tunes of the highest order and does so seemingly with ease, creating a body of work that is fresh and relevant to the 21st century whilst not forgetting the past. You can ignore the comparisons to bands like the Clash and Leatherface (or anyone I might have mentioned), the Magnificent needs to be accepted for being themselves. A final thing that cannot be overlooked it that they also have one of the best guitar sounds I’ve heard in years--it’s a total joy to hear.
This is a joint release between Drunken Sailor Records in the U.K., Dirt Cult Records in the U.S.A. and Eager Beaver Records in Japan.