December 21, 2005

The Triangles "Magic Johnson"

I very rarely give into my tendencies towards musical obsession, but recently I've allowed myself that luxury. I've had to allow myself that luxury, because, ultimately, I've had very little choice in the matter. Why? Because a band of five Australian kids have forced me to, that's why. I wish I'd been a bit more careful, because thanks to this band, I've not been able to get much of anything done--they've required my utmost attention, so much so that it's almost starting to worry me.

Let's back up for a few moments, and let's learn a bit more about this band, shall we? They're called The Triangles, and they hail from sunny Melbourne, Australia. They've been around for about three years now, and they've released three albums, an EP, and a single. They consist of three girls and two boys; they all play a variety of instruments and sing, and they're all cute as the dickens. They met at youth camp in the 1990s, and they've all been involved in community music and theatre projects. They play fun instruments like banjos and melodicas and recorders and ukeleles. They all seem less than convinced of the possibility of the Triangles "making it."

Internal pessimism aside, Magic Johnson is an extremly likeable record. Three of the band members share the singing duties, and they all offer up their own unique instrumental abilities in ways that are quite charming. At times, they've succesfully captured the same magic of The Polyphonic Spree and the Partridge Family, even occasionally sounding like the Cowsills, too. In other words, big, bright, sunny pop meoldies filled with gorgeous harmonies and lyrics about having fun and enjoying life. It's hard not to smile during the "bah-bah-bah's" of album opener "Applejack," and the song's catchy hooks will pull you up and into their world quite quickly. They then turn around and deliver one addictive hook-laden song after another, replete with banjos, harmonicas, kazoos, multitracked boy/girl singing and pretty, pretty harmonies. Heck, on songs like "Let's Replace the Cityscapes" and "I Am Your Valley," the background vocals are so strong, you'll be checking to see if maybe these kids stole the kidnapped the Polyphonic Spree choir!

Even on less sunny songs like "The 1850's" and "Your Heart," the band still utilizes the things that make their sunnier songs so great--and guess what? The songs are still awesome, and the band's still great!! Better still, the band's tricks and style never, ever sounds contrived, nor does it ever sound montonous; they're very good at what they do, and it's evident in their songwriting, as each song is rewarding in its own way. When a band can go from really sad to really happy is one thing--that they can do so without ever losing any of their magical charm is another. Seriously, there's not a bum note to be found on Magic Johnson; there's no song that's skippable--every song is a perfect little creation, lovely and beautiful in its own way; this album is truly a perfect record. That it's all but an obscurity is a shame--but hopefully, they won't be obscure for much longer.

Cheery, upbeat, sunny, funny, fun, cute, charming, catchy--what more could I possibly want? What more could you possibly want? This is, simply put, a damn fine record that sounds like absolutely nothing you've heard all year. It's been ages since a record's made me wave my hands up in the air, dance around like a fool around the room, and singing along to every song. If that's not the sign of pure pop perfection, then, damn, I don't know what is. Let's just hope they get over their own pessimistic tendencies, and realize how damn good they are.

--Joseph Kyle

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