Originally formed in 1989, Magnapop has always been a power-pop force to be reckoned with. After 30 years of lineup changes, the Atlanta foursome reappear like alt-rock ghosts in the night to bring us their first album in 10 years.
The Circle Is Round is the epitome of chunky power-pop. It is full of tracks that sound both old and new with some demo tracks from the 1992 recordings for their die-hard fans. With their melodies and energy intact, The Circle Is Round is a great addition to their discography and is just another reason to go through their archives (as if we really need a reason!).
Muffled bass lines and heavy guitar tones are elements of Magnapop’s trademark alt-rock sound. “Dog On The Door” is a hark back to the Magnapop of old and is a mix of nuanced songwriting and measured messy rock. And like with all of Magnapop’s tracks, it is their energy that really engages their listeners and this one is no different.
Simple acoustic backing helps “Disabled” get it on its feet and is one of the quieter tracks on the album. With its intro stripped back, Magnapop really try and make you concentrate on their lyrics. The track begins by bringing to light the difficulty of most arguments today, the lost art of conversation. With one sided conversations being played out online, it is pretty clear that Magnapop are as worried about the loss of this art form as everyone else. “Disabled” also takes a look at the bands own mortality and how they disappear and reappear making the track a pointed focus on the bands current reappearance. While it may not sound like any of their older tracks, it is a welcome change of tone and pace on an album that seems to be driving at high speed to places unknown.
Dreamy and rocking, “Rain Rain” is a alt-rock lullaby that lulls you in and comforts you like a familiar hug. The lyrics are dark and there is a strange comfort in that. Other slow lilting songs tend to talk about the wonder of life and love but “Rain Rain” takes life’s problems and spews them into the lyrics of this track. With a pinch of desperation, a handful of pessimism, and a large dose of reality, it is the perfect self-wallowing antidote to latent angst.
The Circle Is Round is a mix of the old and the new. It encompasses everything the band have come to represent over the years and will both make existing bands happy and help new fans look into their old back catalogue. The Circle Is Round isn’t a comeback, its only solidifies Magnapop’s position in the power-pop world.