The Magpie Salute - 'High Water I'

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The Magpie Salute - 'High Water I'

Music is the winner here on an album that's a contender for Release Of The Year,.

When Rich Robinson announced last year that he would be using a collective of talents – musical and vocal – to explore electric, piano-heavy music, it was rather exciting, even if the debut relied on covers.

This new offering even starts with a triumphal fanfare and cheer, until a ragged The Faces/Rolling Stones-like cheeky vibe teases out a filthy vocal from John Hogg and some elastic bass with a falling-over riff – 'Mary The Gypsy' is almost perfect. There's bucolic, woozy Led Zeppelin-like acoustic stuff too with a robust yet sweet 'High Water', a song on a quest for something it doesn't want to find. Hogg is all tight Mick Jagger power with a bunch of Steve Marriott on the single 'Send Me An Omen', but the Monkees-sounding harmonies are out of left field and break through the tough wall of guitars, everything struggles beautifully here, but it all clears for the simple bass and souped-up guitars of 'Can You See' which allows a rabbit hole wig out too.

This tells some beautiful stories, 'Sister Moon' came from Robinson and Hogg sitting together, talking, learning from and learning to love each other, just doing that for twenty-four hours, an insistent piano line and beat allow swishes of paint on top, everything takes as long as it takes, and everything is gorgeous. However, it's not as much of a painted harlot as the swaying, teasing 'Take It All' (which is okay), while 'Hand In Hand' brings us all around the fire for a sing-along with handclaps via acoustic and piano purity.

This feels like The Magpie Salute have had time to get to know each other and produced something all their own, more of a sonic shout than many people thought it would be (the absolute slap midway through 'For The Wind' is undeniable), but it remains a beautiful whisper of sun-kissed breezes at times. Not many albums can do that and not many have this range of talents. Robinson wants The Magpie to be a cousin of The Crow(es), the Salute a decision to come in peace. This has peace at its core, a love of each other and the music they find, it's a rangy album with that seventies feel where most things can sit side by side with no odd looks. Music is the winner here on an album that's a contender for Release Of The Year, plus there's the delicious possibility of 'High Water II' arriving soon...

Steve Swift

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