steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Fantastic Magic

"Witch Choir" CD

Abandon Ship Records


Sep 9 2008

Freaky and folky, Witch Choir is nothing if not whimsical. A ten track album in twenty-three minutes probably sounds pretty fragmented, and indeed it is. But that is integral to the fun - it sounds as if Fantastic Magic recorded this record around a campfire, bringing songs to fruition mere minutes after their conceptualization. As such, the songs share a weirdo folk theme, but are quite stylistically quixotic. This makes it a difficult record to digest, let alone describe.

With that said, the most notable aspect of Witch Choir is its straightforwardness - despite its whimsical nature, most of these tracks are unarguably SONGS. The most accessible, "songlike" moment on this ten track record is "Moat Island," which combines tinny falsetto vocals with an acoustic guitar part. A tad more eerie is the outsider folk-pop of "Flowerbeds," but it is the especially polished "I've Covered the Halls, With Glitter and Awe..." that earns top marks here, laying a filtered vocal melody over trumpet, guitar, and a punchy rhythm section. Aside from its more accessible side, Witch Choir is also littered with a sprinkling of avant-garde excursions - be it the discordant improv of "Balloons" or the insane psychedelic freeformery of "Etains Whirlwind."

Overall, this is a great little package from the Abandon Ship crew. A guaranteed gem for lo-fi and weird folk fanatics, Fantastic Magic's Witch Choir is the type of free and wild outsider pop music you wish your friends were cool enough to play.

fantastic magic's myspace


youuuuuuuutube!: "sea of gold" live, "flowerbeds" live

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 10 tracks, 22:55, distributed by the label, released 2008]