In the beginning, it was just a Monday night thing. It was a bit of a hobby, a bit of a crack. Cranking out a few tunes for a few hours in the rehearsal studios once a week made a nice change from spending another evening down the pub. It's kind of getting more serious for Magic Ship now, though. Because the London four-piece have released an album. It's called "LoveTel Motel", it's on Stone Island Records and it's a stormer. Magic Ship pinched their name from a song by 1970s bluesmen Free - and that should give you an idea of where this group is coming from. There's a hint of The Faces and a dash of Mott The Hoople in their music. There's a light dusting of The Allman Brothers and a sniff of Lynyrd Skynyrd. They're not out-and-out dad rockers, mind. There are also plenty of pop tones in there and some of them are decidedly 21st Century. Yet for every melodic guitar hook and catchy chorus, you can be sure there is something gritty, something raunchy, something dirty lurking right around the corner. Magic Ship seem to specialise in dirty. Most of the people staying at the "LoveTel Motel" sign the register as Mr and Mrs Smith. "LoveTel Motel" opens with the frantic neck-jerker that is "Fly!" and, before you know it, careers straight into "Headaches And Heartaches", a swing-along on-the-road saga. The title track is an equally breathless frug, but the dark, twisted, half-whispered "Lucky Lost" and the whimsical "Black Holes Don't Eat Everything" bring a marked drop in pace. Here and there, in finest Bo Diddley fashion, there are several autobiographical references to Magic Ship, a couple of them in the acoustic "Lifeboats For The Dead", which sees the group in a more obviously reflective mood than elsewhere on the album. The epic "Monkeyphonic Alphabets" is meanwhile the sort of song that David Crosby might have written if he'd spent 1973 as a 13-year-old haring around the streets of West London on a Raleigh Chopper with a big Sherbet Fountain in his pocket, instead of sitting between Stills and Nash trying to stop them knocking seven shades of shit out of each other. It all adds up to a mighty fine debut. It's no wonder that a lot of people are saying a lot of nice things about "LoveTel Motel". If it carries on like this, Magic Ship are soon going to be busy on Tuesday nights too.
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