Magnetic Health Factory – The Magic Skyline

Magnetic Health Factory
The Magic Skyline

File The Magic Skyline by Magnetic Health Factory under “So Bad It’s Almost Good”. For a sub-lo-fi amateur exercise, this has some charm.

The strength of The Magic Skyline is its tenderfoot songwriting. The pimple-faced compositions work because they don’t try to mask the album’s weaknesses. The end result is a collection of songs meekly representing the unrealized indie star in us all. The better tracks include “I Confess”, “Paper Thin” and “Nobody Else Does”.

But buyer beware – many listeners will find ample reasons to cringe: the singing is borderline pitiful, the musicianship unremarkable and the production is dainty. During vocals, watch out for breath “pops” caught on tape and pushed through your speakers. And considering Magnetic Health Factory claims to have started back in 1995, these serious flaws are a bit disconcerting. Why the lack in development? Simple answer – lack of talent. Examples of weaker tracks are “Everyone’s Shutting Up” and “Better Pills”.

The music is primarily the effort of Eric O’Connor, a Guided by Voices fanatic. He started as a solo multi-instrumentalist, but in August 2005 he relocated and decided to make his project a full-fledged band with guitar, bass, drums and even some synths. Previous releases include 2005’s Communication Breakdown, 2000’s I Can’t Wait to Not Talk to You and 1998’s Don’t Postpone Joy.

Whether or not you will like Magnetic Health Factory’s The Magic Skyline depends on your opinion of Guided by Voices and your tolerance for puttering musicianship, limited natural talent and weak production. But if you’re always willing to give a bereft novice his shot, after a few listens you might find that The Magic Skyline is redeemed by its vulnerabilities.