Despite a title and cover which scream ‘Manowar!’ or perhaps worse, to the casual listener – not that there’s anything wrong with that- Norwegian power trio Magick Touch actually deal in a classy brand of late seventies/early-eighties inspired hard rock that is sure to appeal to any fans of high quality, carefully-crafted music who happen to stumble across it’s spandex n’studded encrusted path.
At their best, these Norseman come across like a glorious mix of names like Y&T and Coney Hatch. Believe in Magick operates in the same rarified circles as Saxon during their mid-eighties AOR dalliance, whilst Polonium Blues shows a bluesier, almost grunge-laden side to the band’s talents that isn’t as immediate but is no less appealing, especially when HK Rein lets his fingers fly over a very willing fretboard.
There’s a real freewheelin’, happy-go-lucky air about material like Siren Song that won’t fail to gather up apparently disinterested bystanders and turn them into willing converts to the Magick Touch cause. Everything they do provides a welcome reminder of what music was like in the late eighties; highly skilled yet with a louche, devil-may-care touch, a happy confluence of style and substance that at once satiates the listener yet leaves them baying for more.
Lost With All Hands matches the modern day panache of contemporaries like Audrey Horne to more classic operators like April Wine or, perhaps, English hard rockers Rage, but whatever conclusions you draw or comparisons you make the one burning, inescapable verity that’s readily apparent is that Magick Touch are one very special band indeed.
Standout track After the Fire is pure class, reminding the listener of that period in the early eighties when seemingly every new hard rock band on the block had a killer radio-friendly unit shifter up it’s sleeve – although none of them would actually make it on to the airwaves in those days, obviously – whilst the frenetic, Who-styled mayhem of Electrick Sorcery is pure, unadulterated aural indulgence for hard rock fans of a certain age.
If bands like Cats in Space scratch the itch for fans of the more smooth-rockin’ sounds of yore, then Magick Touch provide the same service for ageing bedenim-and-leathered rockers of a similar vintage; This is pure escapism for old ears like mine, but without the tiresome nostalgia-fixation that can often accompany such journeys back through time. Magick Touch operate very much in the here and now, and for that we should give a hearty thanks!
Blades, Chains, Whips & Fire is out now through Edged Circle Productions.