Toronto duo Fake Magic released their latest album, “N.A.” last October, and offer ten tunes full of real rock magic. A mathematical equation for the songs included on this album may look something like this: N.A. = ((Black Keys + Interpol (-heartache and misery) + Queens of the Stone Age (+sludgy guitar riffs)). Quite a feat for a couple of fellas releasing their first full-length independent record.
Greg Markham and Bryan Paccagnella, the duo behind Fake Magic, humbly began the recording sessions in Greg’s apartment. This DIY inception allowed external sonic elements to remain included, such as car alarms, sirens, and electric fans. Make no mistake though, these songs are not lo-fi, messy, or haphazard. These guys know the necessary components for great tunes and added enough instruments (with help from Cory Williams of Greg’s other group, Whosarmy, on “Still Gunna Love Me” and “Singing Stones”) to completely transform what may have been humble beginnings into stadium sized anthems.
Let’s begin by focusing on the second track, “Get Outta My Way.” This is a perfect driving song with toe-tapping rhythm, shimmering and chiming guitars, and lyrics encouraging us to go further and faster. It swiftly succeeds in getting your adrenaline flowing. While this song leans somewhat further into the Interpol aspect of my previously stated equation, the next number, “Still Gunna Love Me,” cranks the volume and intensity up a notch. It hits you with fuzzy, sludgy guitar punches which pound along with the thunderous drums akin to Queens of The Stone Age, but with Bryan’s smooth tenor voice replacing QOTSA’s Josh Homme’s rough-around-the-edges sneer. On an album like this, with so many strong songs, it’s tough to pick out favorites, but this is a solid standout track.
Similar in the sonic laneway as “Get Outta My Way,” the album’s final track, “Always Nice,” is another stellar standout about getting away. The drum and bass here is what you might hear in hip-hop, but works excellently, contrasted against the harmonic minor key guitar strums. It’s a cool and relaxed way to exit the record, like slowing down as you turn to use the off-ramp. Fake Magic set out to create a road trip soundtrack, and have hit a bulls-eye. If you play the album on repeat (as one does in a car), as “Always Nice” fades out, there’s a brief moment of silence, until the opening track, “Tonawanda,” starts up again. Which sounds even better the second time around? I’m not sure if they planned it that way, but it works, nonetheless.
I’m a bicyclist myself, but I’ll be pressing play to this album any time I have a need for speed, whether it’s riding shotgun with a friend, or whenever I just want to grab a controller and start up my favorite racing/driving simulator game.
Listen to & Purchase “N.A.” here: https://fakemagic.bandcamp.com/album/n-a