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White Magic - Dark Stars

Released by Drag City, 10/21/07

Have you ever listened to a vinyl spinning and then turned it off mid cycle? The sound gets slower and slower and, eventually, the record stops. When listening to White Magic’s second track “Very Late” featured on their new EP Dark Stars, this is what it sounded like. I felt like someone needed to turn up the tempo -- maybe it would have sounded better on fast forward. Particularly when esteemed crooner Mira Billotte’s somewhat screechy vocals and clever song writing seem to have more potential than the song allows.

Potential, is indeed the key word here. The album could be great, but it doesn’t quite get there. It actually becomes a little annoying after a while. “Poor Harold”, the album’s third track starts off great. Good piano, also played by Billotte, and a nice rhythm. The screechy, hypnotic vocals work too -- until you get to the middle of the song where the sound just goes haywire, the same five notes on the piano get really old really fast and you find yourself wishing the cluttered noise would just stop!

It’s unfortunate because all the songs start off great; that indie/folky sound of good acoustic instrumentals, unusual vocals (both male and female)…and then, nada. The songs just end up severely repetitive and boring, taking away from the lyrics, which on their own, could actually be quite beautiful and somewhat powerful.

It's disappointing because after hearing Billotte’s other work, featured more recently on the soundtrack to Bob Dylan biopic “I’m Not There”, I wanted to love this album.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars