Review: Magic Shoppe ‘Mono Lake’

Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts and boasting a more than reasonable following on Bandcamp, I am informed that Magic Shoppe are followers of shoegaze, psych, and noise-rock, of which that world is already well populated with bands, some good, some not so. It’s also a favourite genre of mine, especially the pioneers with the likes of Swervedriver, Catherine Wheel, Sonic Youth, Spacemen 3, and My Bloody Valentine who were all inventive with their own sound in the old days. I also love more recent acts like Whirr from San Francisco and Deafcult from Brisbane, Australia who released a gem of an album in Auras a few years back. Seek them out if you love this kind of thing.

Magic Shoppe 'Mono Lake'

As for Magic Shoppe, they’re a five-piece band fronted by Josiah Webb on guitar and vocals, Stephen White on bass, Richie Gibson on second guitar, Mat Durie third guitar, and Don Dixon on drums. All the elements are in place like a well-used formula and some of this record is fairly powerful. Are You There God? It’s Me, Satan is, for me, the standout track on Mono Lake, and might even get radio play if they know someone in the right circles. Definitely a contender for their next single.

Although a popular genre in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I’m just not sure how much of a following this music gets with the kids these days? Does that matter? Probably not? With just short of 4000 followers on Bandcamp says it doesn’t. The first digital single, I Feel High, was released in January and begins like a Dinosaur Jr or Swervedriver tune sung by Kevin Shields, which is no bad thing in my book.

like a Dinosaur Jr or Swervedriver tune sung by Kevin Shields, which is no bad thing in my book…

To balance a nostalgic look back at this genre and perform it with any kind of authenticity isn’t simple because it has to remain interesting, whilst bringing something new to the table at the same time and at points throughout this, their second album, they do manage it admirably.

I urge you to seek this out if you are a fan of any of the bands I mentioned, Magic Shoppe deserve your attention because I’m convinced, they care deeply about what they do and have mastered it pretty well. It’s also good to hear there is an interest and passion to continue making music like this after the UK press began to ridicule it latterly.

There is not much more I can really add other than I note they’re well used to touring having survived three well received European tours since 2017, and they plan to embark on another one with California’s Asteroid No. 4 in late 2022. Go support them and buy their new record.

Label: Cardinal Fuzz Records | Little Cloud Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Tim Keppie