London’s Old Street has absolutely nothing in common with Argentina’s Mar del Plata but one tenuous link is British band the Magic Numbers, who spoke to the Herald from the City on Tuesday and play the coastal resort this afternoon. The band has released two albums that musically are pure pop yet lyrically as dark as the English winter nights (I’m an honest mistake that you made, anyone? Ouch) and they’ve just completed a miniature put-themselves-back-on-the-map tour of the UK following a four-year gap between new long-play material, excluding the release of an EP in 2007.
Set up by two pairs of siblings, Michele and Romeo Stodart whose mum is called Juliet, and Angela and Sean Gannon, the childhood friends have been out of the public eye for a while although not on a complete break: the quartet have been occupied setting up their own studio, writing a third album and working on solo projects.
After releasing album number one (The Magic Numbers in 2005) which included the ultra-contagious songs Love Me Like You and Love’s A Game from which the “mistake” lyrics come, tracks that are so 60s-influenced it feels like the Magic Numbers have been around for 40-odd years, the self-titled debut was indecently quickly followed up a year later by Those the Brokes in 2006. This was enhanced by further touring and so after the musical, media mayhem, a break was in order.
Bassist and vocalist Michele says: “The main dream after touring was to do what we wanted so we spent a year setting up a studio. That was a big thing to get done but because we’re really hands on and want to do everything ourselves, it took a while to learn how to use the desk. We then took six months to record the next album and I’ve been recording my own on the side which has been a bit of an escape. Romeo has helped me a bit with its production.”
Infinitely less headline-grabbing than Oasis’ Gallagher brothers, these credible siblings don’t let rivalry get in the way, explains Michele. “We all grew up together, and we can sit in a room and don’t have to say anything to each other. It’s really comfortable, no one has anything hidden, we’ve seen each other in our ups and downs, but because we toured so much, I think we lost the family side of things a bit.”
So although they haven’t actually had a break, the laid-back attitude which at the forefront of their music reflects the pace they choose to work at, so it was going to take longer than average to make all these plans come to fruition. Still, a few years have whizzed past and it’s back to the grind, albeit at a slower pace.
“We’ve just finished out third record so we toured about 20 small venues to try it out and get ourselves out there for the fans,” Michele adds. That tour had a great conclusion with a larger show at Wiltons Music Hall in London, she adds. “Playing new tracks there felt good, it’s the start of the year — it felt like we were back.”
From west London although the Stodarts lived in Trinidad when they were younger, the Magic Numbers have always had good times doing the smaller circuit, and were up for repeating the experience before the April release. Michele adds: “It was really fun and a conscious thing to do before the album comes out and the chaos begins again.”
Although the band have had no time to acclimatise and are unlikely to appear in swimwear or even shorts, they will be giving fans a chance to reacquaint themselves with some Naughties pop classics while treating them to new material at the same time.
Where & when
Magic Numbers play the Rock & Pop Arena at ArenaBeach in Mar del Plata, Route 11, 200m south of the lighthouse. Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 3pm. Admission: free.