Magnet – Caffeine Superstar

Caffeine Superstar

Magnet makes music that is comforting and familiar. Anyone who’s spent time nursing a broken heart to the sounds of Mazzy Star or the Jesus and Mary Chain circa Stoned and Dethroned will immediately feel at home with the lazy rhythms, jangly guitars, and introspective lyrics on Caffeine Superstar.
While lead singer and songwriter Mark Goodman is an unknown to me, some of the other band members are recognizable. Bass player Victor Krummenacher was a member of Camper van Beethoven, and although they didn’t actively contribute to the new album, the band has also worked with Cracker frontman David Lowery and Velvet Underground drummer Moe Tucker.
I enjoy Magnet’s style of music, but at no point on this album do they manage to improve upon, or even equal, the music of their many influences. Some tracks such as “Over Easy” and “Hands Don’t Fly” work well and invoke the intended melancholy emotions. As a whole, however, the album suffers from a lack of inspiration. Too many of the songs sound the same, and when the band does try to introduce variation it comes across as conscious and forced. “Shredded Twisted Paper,” for example, features an annoying vocal distortion that fails to improve an otherwise lackluster song. When the band tries to speed up the tempo, the result is akin to that of a wallflower who’s been reluctantly dragged onto a dance floor: the motions are there, but the enthusiasm isn’t. A morose cover of the Ramones classic “I Wanna Be Sedated” is out of place and interrupts the album flow.
Magnet holds a lot of promise, and most of Caffeine Superstar is a pleasant listen for fans of the genre. Perhaps on their next release they’ll be able to pull together all the good bits, embrace their own sound, and give us something really special.