The Magic Numbers, Academy, Liverpool

Warning: this band is peddling tunes of an addictive nature

In a recent NME, Romeo said that he believes he is in "the best band in the world". This isn't the first time someone's done that, and it won't be the last. Liam Gallagher says it, and he's wrong. Johnny Borrell says it, and he's wronger. The difference with Romeo Stodart is that he might actually have a point.

Some may criticise The Magic Numbers for their traditionalist template. On the face of it, their mellow, easy-listening, feelgood Seventies rock sound is a simple one. But I can't remember the last band who had this genius for taking a pop melody and using every trick in the book (turning it inside out, approaching it from every possible angle) until the barbed hook is implanted in your brain. By the time "Forever Lost" reaches the clap-clap breakdown, you know you're going to be singing it for days.

Some may also question exactly what Angela Gannon brings to the party, apart from a pretty face, a little percussion and a little melodica. The fact is that her backing vocals lend a sweet, uncertain vulnerability to The Magic Numbers songs (in this respect, she's the link to those early demos). Oh, and it's all about the tambourine.

Much is made of The Magic Numbers' capacity for spreading happiness. But this isn't banal happiness, though. This isn't Bobby McFerrin. This isn't a random stranger on the bus telling you to "Cheer up mate, it might never happen!" These are songs of solace and succour. Take "I See You, You See Me", an extraordinarily perceptive duet about the reluctant, tentative love of burned, damaged people. Or the smaller refrains here and there: the "don't fail me now, don't fail me now..." of "Love Me Like You", the "I'd die for you" of "Mornings Eleven", even the simple "baby, BABY..." of "Don't Give Up The Fight".

These songs don't paper over the cracks in your life, and paint a silly grin over the top. They look deep inside you, they understand you, and they make everything all right.

If The Magic Numbers' music fails to touch you, I would suggest that you have no love or joy in your soul, no love or soul in your joy, and no joy or soul in your love.

Or that your name is Richard Bacon.

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