Magic Arm: Images Rolling – album review
Manchester-based Marc Rigelsford follows up his 2009 debut (Make Lists, Do Something) with an equally upbeat album of homespun and self-recorded tunes.
With a intervening four year gap, during which he’s moved house, learnt to play even more instruments and generally further reorganised life around his music, Images Rolling provides the world with another kaleidoscopic mixture of live instruments, pleasantly ambling soundtracks and moments of orchestral splendour, all intertwined with suggestive tinges of psychedelic rock (see Is History).
Magic Arm’s inter-continental and more often retrospective style, mixes modern and vintage ideals, summoning up a contemporary appeal that he lovingly mingles with a uniquely rose tinted view of late ’60’s flowered up pop. Whilst his outlook may seem lavish at various junctures, the intimacy of this project remains. The tunes remain highly personal, intricate and more importantly, intensely appealing. The music and performances, are of course perfectly credible, with nothing left to the vagaries (or luxuries) of a computer’s cutting room folder.
In short, Images Rolling appears to be an individual’s long awaited masterpiece. A relaxed effort, that’s been carefully considered with only the ripest of ideas making the final cut. Nearer the end of the album, you really do feel as though you have been taken on a journey. Under The Eaves is a contradiction in simplicity versus complexity. The chords are easy to remember, but the layering and overall arrangement builds up to a gentle crescendo, that for Rigelsford is pleasantly epic.
When you open this album it’s airy and upbeat with Put Your Collar Up skipping across the horizon in a flurry of strings and quick snare beats (Tonight I Walk also has a go at revisiting this feel, but at a slightly more pedestrian pace). As the tracks give way to a determined space-aged series of upbeat lullabies and reflective melodies (You Have Won, Warning Sign and Great Life), this is certainly not an album of individual tracks but a complete package that can only be relished as one.
Rigelsford’s Magic Arm is happy to be an understatement. Albums can wait until they’re ready. Like his music, there’s no false sense of urgency apparent in any of the process. Patiently wait and great things will come…just as they have here.
All words by Jon Ashley. You can read more from Jon on LTW here.