Having a side project usually gives musicians a chance to be less serious, to experiment a little and try things they might not feel comfortable trying with their primary musical outlet. In some cases, the results can be forgettable at best, or unforgiveable in a worst case scenario. Thankfully, the Magic Magicians, which is the side project of John Atkins of 764-HERO and Joe Plummer of The Black Heart Procession, fits into neither of these categories. With Plummer handling percussion and Atkins handling pretty much everything else, the duo effortlessly cruises through ten memorable tracks that are significantly poppier than either of the members’ other bands. Of course, since Atkins wrote the songs and sings them, the sound is closer to 764-HERO’s mid-tempo rockers than The Black Heart Procession’s funeral dirges. Atkins also opts to keep things simple, with very few songs containing more than three or four lazily strummed chords. The album’s centerpiece is the quiet, almost ballad-like “Time Zones Be Damned,” which undoubtedly was written following a coast to coast flight on a lousy airline. In this song, as well as “Waited Too Long,” Atkins also reveals a soft spot in his heart for the Boss and Neil Young, which can never be a bad thing.
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