Magic Arm – Images Rolling

A tumbledown record made in a tumbledown house, and full of the magic and splendour that the image of a situation like that evokes. Cinematic and scenic, the multiplicity of artistic morsels that make up Images Rolling, the second Magic Arm album from Manchester based Marc Rigelsford makes it connect with the listener, the viewer, the feeler and the thinker, tapping all the senses. More subtley suggestive than exhibitionist, the individual tales combine to paint a technicolour story that is slightly flawed around the edges – a grand life doused in reality, full of off kilter curveballs.

This is the first time that Rigelsford has experimented with writing on the piano rather than guitar, and this has the effect of something solid holding together the variety of experimental and ephemeral sounds. Opener Put Your Collar Up announces the album’s arrival with strong strings and horns, evolving into suite of skewed sounds, whilst  Is History kicks off with a  miltary esque drum beat and is the kind of song that you would have sung at school, and is just as immediate as it bounds along with understated confidence. At the other end of the spectrum Great Life is a reflective tune, its repeated assertion that ‘I want a great life’ a mantra that resonates with the title of debut album Make Lists, Do Something.

Blissful, but never spaced out, the album operates within boundaries, bouncing off them in all angles as it ponders hazy memories or dreams of the future. Situated somewhere between magic and melancholy, it is fully DIY with a deliberate lo fi edge, and  an incredibly organic record.  Character abounds on this album, but takes multiple forms, from the gentle plinky keys on Warning Sign to the whoozy vocals of Lanes, the type of which was last heard on an Air album.

Exploring multiple textures and emotions in only thirty minutes without sounding too skittish and uncommitted is not easy, but on this album the whole thing is looped together with perfect authenticity. Like the best magic, its power is not easily explained, and Images Rolling is all the more charming for it.

Out now on Switchflicker / Peacefrog

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