For those of you who were disappointed with Magnum’s 2001’s ‘Breath Of Life’, or even 2004’s ‘Brand New Morning’, then the third strike with ‘Princess Alice And The Broken Arrow’ might be the aural elixir to cure all your previous Magnum woes.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: Princess Alice And The Broken Arrow
SERIAL: SPV 95910 CD
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Bob Catley – vocals * Tony Clarkin – guitars * Mark Stanway – keyboards * Al Barrow – bass * Jimmy Copley – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 When We Were Younger * 02 Eyes Wide Open * 03 Like Brothers We Stand * 04 Out Of The Shadows * 05 Dragons Are Real * 06 Inside Your Head * 07 Be Strong * 08 Thank You For The Day * 09 Your Lies * 10 Desperate Times * 11 You’ll Never Sleep
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Looking at the album title, it looks as if we have a concept album akin to a children’s story on our hands. Harry Potter does AOR perhaps? It turns out we don’t, but the cover had me thinking.. could this be ‘On A Storytellers Night’ revisited? The answer to that is ‘no’, it isn’t, and thankfully so. Let’s leave 1985 in the past and remain in the present tense. Magnum’s new album has certainly tweaked a lot of commercial interest since its release in late March 2007.
There are a few reviews out there alread; mostly good, but there are a couple of idiots who couldn’t review an album to save themselves – who chimed in with irrelevance. We’ll ignore them. For those of you who were disappointed with Manum’s 2001’s ‘Breath Of Life’, or even 2004’s ‘Brand New Morning’, then the third strike with ‘Princess Alice And The Broken Arrow’ might be the aural elixir to cure all your previous Magnum woes.
I liked those albums, but feel this one is a step in the right direction, and reintroduces some components into the mix that were missing on those previous two. And reading the opinions of buyers of the CD out there on the Internet, they tend to agree. Line-up wise, the band bring onboard new drummer Jimmy Copley, who takes over the stool vacated by ex Thunder sticksman Harry James.
The seven minute lead-off ‘When We Were Younger’ is subtle brilliance. It is designed to build itself up through the duration, and does so with ease. By songs-end, all the moving parts of the band are in full-swing. Clarkin’s insistent guitar riff on ‘Eyes Wide Open’ chugs away as the underbellied foil to a delightful vocal from Catley, and the ever-present keyboard layers and leads from Stanway.
The mid-paced structure of ‘Like Brothers We Stand’ is relatively straight-forward, whereas ‘Out Of The Shadows’ is a darker track (obviously) with lyrical references to the horrors of war. I wonder if the lads saw the movie ‘Eragon’ – and perhaps based ‘Dragons Are Real’ on it? Castles, soldiers, maidens, the stuff of legend. Yep, very British, fine by me!
Mark Stanway dominates the mainly piano based ballad ‘ Inside Your Head’, which compares the limitless borders of the mind in relation to the confines of reality. Check out the 70’s rehash of ‘Be Strong’, this will have you flicking back through your Magnum discography, such are the reference points of their past coming through. ‘Thank You For The Day’ is a feelgood sing-along anthem that brings Stanway to the fore again.
I enjoyed the simplicity of ‘Desperate Times’ – but this one is a chameleon. The choruses are bold and anthemic, like the rabbit popping his head out of the hole. Finishing up the same way they started, Magnum deliver ‘You’ll Never Sleep’, as its magnum opus. It’s a reminder of why the band were so popular back in the glory days, and could potentially waken the awareness of future fans into the 21st century. I can see it now: ‘No Sleep Til Birmingham. Live 2008’.
Bob Catley has been described as saying this is the band’s best effort since ‘On A Storytellers Night’. That’s a big call, but hey, who better than the lead singer to make it. Personally, I am glad that Magnum have attracted so much attention in 2007, something I believed could not have been possible a few years ago.
‘Princess Alice. .’ is the sort of album that will require a few plays to get into the heart of it, and in time, you’ll come away appreciating what these Brummie boys have given us. I have, and it will get a few more spins yet.
You’ll Never Sleep