The sophomore EP from Birmingham four-piece Magpies & Vagabonds is available for free download at www.magpiesandvagabonds.bandcamp.com
A Compass To Guide Me Home is comprised of four tracks, built on positivity, goodness and strength. The reprise of The Hold Steady’s Stay Positive echoes throughout the EP – a mantra as much as an influence. Moments of Weezer, Rival Schools and Far also come together to create succinct and powerful pop-rock joy.
Track one Sometimes has supremely catchy lyrics, “I told you once you were my everything/And you heartily conquered/In the last dozen years we’ve been through hell and back/Took each other at each other’s word…Sometimes/We were closer than brothers/Some bonds are thicker than blood is.” It has a danceable, happy and summery melody that lingers in your head. It’s an uplifting song about friendships that get better with age. Influences from The Wombats can be heard in this track.
Disappointment & Desires states the obvious with its name – it’s a song about expectations of relationships not being met,”Oh Juliet you’re making me work/I’m just trying to get to heaven this is hell on Earth/I keep on calling/You’re nowhere to be seen…And now I’m drowning you know I ain’t worth saving…”
The penultimate track Can’t Slow It Down is a punchy pop rock track with catchy lyrics yet again, “Better to underachieve than to overspend/Yeah it’s the best but your hearts not in it/I can tell by your face that you just can’t slow it down…Toe the line/The party line…” The vocals are raw, energetic and far from perfect but this is what makes this band so attractive. Their sound is American but their vocals are English rock. It’s a mixture that works really well.
The last song on the A Compass To Guide Me Home EP, Kiss Of Death, starts with a tribal drum beat which on first listen sounds very similar in style to the South American tribal drums heard on Paul Simon’s The Obvious Child before the soft guitar is introduced faintly in the background.
Magpies & Vagabonds, no matter how random their name is, are a solid pop rock foursome. They produce catchy, sing-a-long tracks that you’ll instantly fall in love with. It’s the sort of music that takes you back to your teens and ultimately ends up feeling like a guilty pleasure.
A Compass To Guide Me Home is out now.