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WACO - 'Human Magic' Album Review


1. The Jersey Devil

2. Levenshulme Lover

3. N15

4. Human Magic

5. Anthony

6. Daydream

7. My Brother, We'll Rise Again

8. The Valleys

9. Smalltown Goths

10. Six Feet Under

11. By My Side

12. Catbrain

13. Tomorrow's Gorgeous Globe

Belligerent buggers, WACO. The first time I listened to their album, ‘Human Magic’. I knew instantly that I didn’t like it. Damn. There was that feeling of dread that I was going to have to listen to this several more times in order to review it, and I’m struggling on the first run through. Indie lad music cum noise, the pigeon-hole was ready to be filled. Perhaps I just wasn’t in the mood for their Arctic Monkey influenced glottal stop Rock or maybe it was just the memories invoked by the band name - I was once threatened by youths in a pick-up truck in that town. Plus, I was getting wound up by their swagger and over-confidence - I’ll give them that. For some reason it touched a nerve. Everything was a little too knowing.

It was while listening to the last track when I decided to reconsider, ‘Tomorrow’s Gorgeous Globe’, is a spoken word rant, that, for some reason, reminds of something from a Jethro Tull concept album (no, not their popular one). Brave. Not something I would listen to repeatedly but interesting. OK, let’s give these chaps another go.

And now, with a few more plays, I have developed a grudging respect for the band. Yes, the vocals can be a bit of a northern wrestling match but they are sung with a passion and a little bit of Bon Scott Rock’n’Roll spirit. Opener, ‘Jersey Devil’, shows the way with its stomping horns accompanying the neo-swamp Rock, which would make me think they were American, if it wasn’t for those vocals.

The band continues to plough this Indie Rock’n’Roll field throughout the album. It’s fairly intense, compressors set to kill! Lyrically, it’s all very British with mentions of ‘Levenshulme’ and ‘Weatherspoons’. Occasionally, they overstep themselves, like on the standard pub Rock of ‘Daydream’ and the heard-it-all-before of ‘Smalltown Goths’, but then something surprising will come along, like the lovely She & Him pastiche of ‘By My Side’.

I knew nothing about the band to be honest, so I did a modicum of research, caught a few videos on YouTube and saw quite possibly the most alarming publicity shot I’ve seen in a while. It brightened up a dull day - quite literally - which I’m not sure was the intention!!

So, overall they won me over….kind of. I would definitely go see them live if they came to town. If they can pull off their brand of wacky hi-jinks Indie live I might just start to like them - see, I can be belligerent too!!

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Review - David Hancox

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