by Niko Nygard (@hatsuneniko)
The first thing I’d say about Mrs. Magician’s new album Bermuda is that it rocks. Not necessarily in the rock’n’roll sense but in the same way that a well worn chair beside the fire does; a sort of gentle rolling undercurrent that sits beneath everything and makes you feel safe and warm inside. In short: I find the album incredibly comforting. This is an odd thing to say about the album though, as discomfort is probably the most prevalent and emblematic feeling throughout the entire album. Everything is laced with a nervous tension that coalesce into slow building waves of sound that never quite crash into any sort of explosive catharsis. Track after track is wound so tight, awaiting a dissipation that never arrives.
Which in turn really begs the question of how I could possibly find an album like this comfortable. The first answer is in the music itself. Mrs. Magician employs well-worn familiar sounds throughout the album. Rather than complicate things, they’ve embraced a sort of simplicity that makes Bermuda seem instantly familiar. They’ve drawn on musical roots from a great many artists of the past and the band seems quite at home in these well-worn musical grooves. Catchy songwriting and workmanlike accompaniment create a sort of transparent honesty that makes even their most personal lyrics seem universal or at the very least relatable.
The second reason I find Bermuda so relatable has an awful lot more to do with me than the music itself. When I was in high school I lived a block away from this ugly neon green liquor store that’d been there since I was born, it’s pretty dumpy inside but I’ve been going there since I was twelve. Across the street from it there’s a store called Surfing Cowboys, an upscale store that sells surfboards and various knick knacks to people who have a lot more money than I do. Bermuda feels like it’s set in the intersection between these stores, where the gentrifiers and the gentrified meet. It’s an album for the t-shirt stores on the Boardwalk, for Freak Show and Tattoo Parlor next to the ice cream stall, for the gold-painted man standing perfectly still. It’s an album for the wall-sized mural of Jim Morrison that will soon be obscured by luxury condominiums and loft-spaces. It’s an album for home.