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Magic Kids – Memphis

Released on True Panther Sounds, 8/24/10

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

I think I have finally figured out the sound of smoking cotton candy while riding a unicorn in outer space. Ladies and gentlemen, hold on to your toothbrushes because Magic Kids will give you a cavity, and then probably a hug and a lollipop.

Most bands have goals. Some want to go on tour, make a great album, buy a giant yacht that has both a car and a jet ski on it, or even merely become the next Styx (totally reasonable). This Memphis-based group would prefer something slightly more down-to-earth, a little more meat and potatoes, a little more scratch ’n’ sniff sticker: to spread happiness to the world.

Hey! Do not roll your eyes. These Magic Kids are not messing around. One listen to the first notes off their initial full-length, Memphis, and the vibe is heavy friends. There is certainly a whole lot of love going down. I cannot fault a band for having fun, and I certainly do not dole out demerits for youthful abandon, but a word to the more moody listeners out there: If you can’t dig on full-blown happiness then step away from this album with your hands up and your frown on.

Apparently the band name was inspired by a film poster from a movie that none of the band has actually seen. They have a slumber party after every show. One of them is related to Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island and another got his start playing music by impersonating Elvis in his father’s ramshackle wedding chapel.

Other than that, there is not a whole lot of information out there about Magic Kids. They are young, as the name implies, but whether or not they are magical remains to be seen. Their message is certainly honest and direct. These kids are pumping out the poppiest pop I have heard in years. There is a certain amount of charm in how sincere the music is, how unapologetically sweet and juvenile the lyrics are.

But cotton candy unicorns in outer space is not everyone’s cup of tea. I fear for the hate that the haters will fling. You cannot be this extreme without some pretty severe reactions — some good, some bad. Unbeknownst to me, I am caught up in the glee and feeling protective over these little lovers. Ok, bottom line. If you can get down with Matt & Kim (“Cry With Me Baby”) mixed with early Brian Wilson (“Skateland”), ELO (“Hideout”), and musical theater (“Little Red Radio”) then Memphis just may be your new jam.

However, these guys will need to head a little more in the direction of the magic and away from the kids in order to maintain in the temperamental times of today. Happiness is, after all, a warm gun.