The Divine Rarity of Pomp Wave

I’ve long asserted that Magazine were thee band to have expertly woven the buzzsaw bite and trebly sonorities of punk and New Wave with the lavish textures and monumental scope of pomp rock and symphonic progressive. Just listen to the brimming colors of “Definitive Gaze” and watch the video to “Motorcade” for two perfect examples, the latter of which suggests a New Wave “Dance On a Volcano” with its uncanny triplex intro and myriad sections.

From there you can check out some other exceptional entities from the New Wave/post-punk movement, like Random Hold and Red Noise, in the “top friends” of Magazine.

Musically, it was the instrumentalists in Magazine who should be given credit for the prog leanings in that band. Particularly their keyboardist Dave Formula, who’s polyphonic arsenal gave Magazine that sweeping, grandiose sound and feel, totally beyond the confines of the post-punk aesthetic (where sparse primitivism was the order of the day.) Additionally, their guitarist John McGeoch lent dynamics to the proceedings with his eminently lyrical, immanently scything leads. The idiosyncratic maximalism of Magazine’s music made them, with honor, a luminous light within the sonic shadow of Genesis, King Crimson, Van Der Graaf Generator and Hawkwind, with due respect to the ubiquitous if over-emphasized mark of Roxy Music and David Bowie.

After McGoech left Magazine to help lift Siouxsie and the Banshees from the depths of haphazard, shock-punk pantomime, intern Ultravox axeman Robin Simon stepped in to lend his sheer, ebow*-like tones to Magazine‘s thinly produced and sadly slight swan song, Magic, Murder, & the Weather.

*I don’t know Simon’s exact arsenal, per se, but the ebow was nonetheless thee guitar sound amongst NuRo (that’s New Romantic) bands and performers like Japan, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Duran Duran and the ubiquitous string-shredder-turned-key-petter Bill Nelson, who laced numerous early 80’s recordings with the sleek, luminous sound of the ebow.


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