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Magic Bullets at Origami Vinyl on Saturday February 19th

When I arrived at Origami Vinyl on Saturday evening, there was almost nobody, the band was still doing the set-up, but as soon as they started, the small store really filled up with young people, spontaneously dancing over the bouncing beats of Magic Bullets. Yeah these beats are infectiously lively, and the frenetic dancing of vocalist Philip Benson will not let you stay motionless.

Philip Benson and guitarist and primary songwriter Corey Cunningham formed Magic Bullets in San Francisco, in 2004 with musicians (Colin Dobrin on drums, Matthew Kallman on keys, Ryan Lynch on guitar and Nathan Sweatt on bass guitar) who were playing in various punk rock bands.

When I heard their first song, I immediately thought about the Smiths, and this is hardly a revelation since many have said it before, Pitchfork has even accused them of plagiarism in a review of their 2010 self-titled album, saying that one of their song ‘Pretend & Descend’ was hijacking a riff from The Smiths’ ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ ‘with such blatant disregard, it almost feels as if it should be listed with an asterisk.’…. however, the reviewer ended liking them.

This is visibly a bunch of people completely in love with the 80s English scene, composing catchy upbeat pop-songs driven by a pulsing keyboard, a steady drumbeat, and with a sensibility that let transpire all kinds of influences, going to another Smith (Robert), or even David Byrne? But who doesn’t borrow? There is fervor and honesty in their joyous but jerky rhythms, which evoke the ’80s post-punk era, but also bring their own magical enthusiasm and a physical dynamism.

And what about their moniker? it comes from the supposedly unique bullet fired by Lee Harver Oswald, which killed JFK.

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