By David Peter Simon | October 21st, 2011
With a sound inspired by the “lyrical directness of folk, the freedom of jazz and the experimental openness of contemporary classical music,” you know right away that The Magic Lantern are not your regular folk chip off the old block. This 5-piece psychedelic chamber ensemble from East London make beautiful music that deserves a global reach.
Local favorites here in London, the comparisons to Sufjan Stevens and Devendra Banhart are abound — and it’s not without due credit. Like another one of my favorite folk discoveries, Sebastian Fleet + Count Oak, I’m happy to say I’m hearing something once again refreshingly original.
Listening to the band, started only a year ago by Jamie Doe (member of the incredibly creative F-IRE collective), is like sipping tea on a rainy day — simply delightful. It’s so nice to get away from the conventional folk that’s dribbling out of every singer-songwriter’s guitar and, in contrast, The Magic Lantern is a group of musicians that paint their passion with their sound.
I was particularly taken with the tenderness of Jamie’s voice and the nostalgia-laden lyrics. The featured track, “Shine A Light On,” is only a small sample of the band’s impressive ability to change tempo — and genre sound, for that matter — halfway through their delivery. Using the word enchanting is an understatement.
If the description of the band and Jamie’s creative background alone aren’t enough to win you over right away, the album was mixed by composer Leo Abrahams who was touring lead guitarist of Imogen Heap and Nick Cave/Briano Eno collaborator. With his help, their sound opened up and was infused with a bit more personality. Talented band, creative leader, legendary producer… what more could you ask for?
You can listen to the lovely tracks here and buy the digital album here. Find out more about them via their Tumblr, and if you’re ever in London be sure to check one of their multiple UK-based live gigs.