Magic Car,
Family Matters
(Tiny Dog, 2005)

The voice of Magic Car's Hazel Atkinson has the rare ability to seduce and haunt you as she weaves her way through a song telling a story.

The opening track on Family Matters, "The Bikers Lament," tells us an all too familiar tale concerning death on the roads, and I find the refrain "there's a scar on the tarmac" revolving in my head long after the song ends. "Seventeen" is another excellent short story in music and song.

The opening verse of "Baltimore" will bring you back a few decades in popular culture before it opens out into a tale of personal feelings that will re-echo in everyone's lives. Another track that captures our lives in microcosm is "White Knuckle Ride," with the opening line, "Loving you was like a white knuckle ride." The joy of the track is that it is delivered so lovingly and quietly.

Almost every track on offer here has the potential to be a classic if they got the exposure. The pacing and delivery on "Terrible Thing" is a case in point. If this hits the airwaves it could not help but captivate, especially the brass sound.

Another amazing song, for its simplicity, is "Dry Your Eyes." It is delivered with an upbeat tempo, essentially dealing with the mundane and everyday. My favourite track again features the voice of Hazel on "Cinderella #1." This is the fairytale updated to 2005 and is marvelous. A close second is "Small Town Saturday Night."

This is an album that will delight, captivate and entrance anyone with a heart and soul, plus an ear for good music well played in a laidback manner abetted by haunting vocals.

by Nicky Rossiter
14 January 2006

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