Three albums in and it’s still hard to get a real handle on Norwegian power trio Magick Touch. In the press release that accompanies new album Heads Have Got To Rock n’Roll, the band themselves allude to “a glorious stew of Dortmund ’83 with toppings of BOSS HM-2”; However, the album doesn’t really conjure up that sort of image in the mind, and when the band themselves struggle to adequately finger where they are coming from what chance have poor, cretinous journos?
‘Dortmund ‘83’, of course, alludes to the famous all-star concert in the Westphalian city which featured the likes of Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Def Leppard and Ozzy Osbourne to name but a few. But over the course of this new record you’d be hard pressed to find more than perhaps the storming To The Limit reproducing the sort of music you’d expect to be made from a deliberate conflation of the august names on that list. So what really is the game here?
At their heart Magick Touch live in a sort of parallel universe where Thin Lizzy are still churning out hard rock anthems by the score to critical and fan acclaim alike and leopard print trousers are something to be prized rather than ridiculed. To The Limit – which actually sounds like an unlikely mashup of Saxon and Toto – proves this. But in reality though they may occasionally harness the spirit of those times – Love is a Heart Disease cleverly interpolates W.A.S.P.’s L.O.V.E. Machine, whilst Waiting For The Parasites is a good stab at recreating a Gene Simmons-written Kiss track from around 1982 – for the most part they still run the risk of slipping over on the onstage perspiration rather than reaping the rewards of musical inspiration.
Other bands operating in this area – notably their compadres Audrey Horne – have harnessed the X-factor needed to pull this stuff off consistently, whereas that lightning is only bottled occasionally by Magick Touch. It’s not too late for them, but they need to sit down and really focus on what aspect of the glory days of hard rock it really is that they want to remind us all of. In the fullness of time this will hopefully mean less of the likes of Ready For The Quake, which leads to uncomfortable memories of Samson, and more like excellent closer Doomsday I’m In Love. This isn’t a bad album by any means, but when you know what greatness lurks potentially within this band, it is a slightly frustrating one.
Heads Have Got To Rock n’Roll releases on June 26th.