Break out the dustcoats, Gav's found a new AOR hero!
It’s amazing what you find on the internet when you least expect it. There I was, at work the other day, looking up something or other, when I stumbled upon nu-AOR titans Magic Dance!
It was a million to one chance, that’s for sure, but I’ve barely been able to drag myself from the band’s four track EP ever since. I say band – Magic Dance appears to be the sole work of New York musician Jon Siejka, give or take the odd guest guitar solo – but whoever’s making this gloriously smooth racket I’m bloody pleased they are!
Opening a four track EP with an instrumental is a brave or foolhardy move, I can’t decide which, but Siejka pulls it off. Like an icy cool mix of some incidental music from Miami Vice or Top Gun, Last Light positively bleeds the eighties in musical form, and it brings goosebumps to the skin on first hearing. It’s amazingly evocative stuff to be sure – maybe the lack of words allows you to conjure up your own pastel-tinted memories, I don’t know – but it’s really just the intro to three slices of the tidiest newly-minted AOR I’ve hear in a long, long time.
The semi-title track Still Haunting Me is awesome, as simple as that, mixing some heavy Survivor flashes – the keyboard intro is pure Caught in the Game-era Jim Peterik – with a classy, Foreigneresque sheen and some nice, muted yet chugging guitar work. I Wanna Know is slightly more urgent and those chugging rhythm axes are becoming a bit of a trademark already. Siejka’s understated vocals prove a nice counterpoint to the jagged guitars, giving the songs a real pop edge that a grittier vocal might have removed; He clearly understands what he can and can’t do vocally and tailors his songs immaculately, showing that voice of in it’s best light at every turn.
The last song is, of course, a classy ballad; Another Life, Another Time has all the hallmarks of classic eighties tear jerkery, right down to the Missing You-style muted rhythm guitars that build and build to a glorious outburst of emotion come chorus time. It’s top notch stuff!
And that’s it, sadly – just the four tracks. I could listen to Magic Dance all day, so hopefully Jon Siejka comes up with more of the same very soon. As they used to say in all the best Record Store Ads – Buy or Die!
Haunting Me is released on March 17th.