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Magnum

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The songwriting and innovation barometer may not be as high on this LP as it is on early-'70s discs by Sly & the Family Stone, Parliament-Funkadelic, Miles Davis, and Santana -- all of whom Magnum bear slight to strong resemblance to, at one point or another. Yet it's a pretty solid effort, and a reminder of a brief time when black music effectively synthesized R&B with numerous progressive trends while remaining both optimistic and street-smart. The collision of influences makes itself known right from the opening "Evolution," with its celebratory/revolutionary lyrics, solid funk groove, James Brown-like horns, bongos, distorted hard rock guitar riffs, and intricate sailing background harmonies. The dragging beats and druggy ambience of "Your Mind" should recall Sly Stone's There's a Riot Goin' On period to many listeners. The wacky hallucinogenic sex sentiments of "Natural Juices" wouldn't sound too out of place in George Clinton's world, with its spaced-out narration: "some people get off on a needle...then there is a thumb and blanket. But the ultimate pacifier is a warm, wet nipple." "Witch Doctor's Brew" and the more impressive, ten-minute "Composition Seven," by contrast, make much use of Miles Davis-ish jazz-rock fusion keyboards in their groove-oriented, jammy passages, the latter tune boosted by an irresistible Latin beat. The album was entirely overlooked in comparison to the more famous artists mining the same grooves, both when it was made and when such sounds have come back into fashion. And it absolutely demands a hearing by anyone who digs these sorts of combinations, even if the group were not as original as the giants of the genre.
© Richie Unterberger /TiVo

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Magnum

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1
Evolution
00:05:50

Magnum, Artist, MainArtist

2000 Jamie Record Co. 2000 Jamie Record Co.

2
Your Mind
00:03:59

Magnum, Artist, MainArtist

2000 Jamie Record Co. 2000 Jamie Record Co.

3
Natural Juices
00:06:39

Magnum, Artist, MainArtist

2000 Jamie Record Co. 2000 Jamie Record Co.

4
It's the Music That Makes Us Do It
00:04:01

Magnum, Artist, MainArtist

2000 Jamie Record Co. 2000 Jamie Record Co.

5
Witch Doctor's Brew
00:07:27

Magnum, Artist, MainArtist

2000 Jamie Record Co. 2000 Jamie Record Co.

6
Funky Junky
00:05:16

Magnum, Artist, MainArtist

2000 Jamie Record Co. 2000 Jamie Record Co.

7
Composition Seven
00:09:57

Magnum, Artist, MainArtist

2000 Jamie Record Co. 2000 Jamie Record Co.

Album Description

The songwriting and innovation barometer may not be as high on this LP as it is on early-'70s discs by Sly & the Family Stone, Parliament-Funkadelic, Miles Davis, and Santana -- all of whom Magnum bear slight to strong resemblance to, at one point or another. Yet it's a pretty solid effort, and a reminder of a brief time when black music effectively synthesized R&B with numerous progressive trends while remaining both optimistic and street-smart. The collision of influences makes itself known right from the opening "Evolution," with its celebratory/revolutionary lyrics, solid funk groove, James Brown-like horns, bongos, distorted hard rock guitar riffs, and intricate sailing background harmonies. The dragging beats and druggy ambience of "Your Mind" should recall Sly Stone's There's a Riot Goin' On period to many listeners. The wacky hallucinogenic sex sentiments of "Natural Juices" wouldn't sound too out of place in George Clinton's world, with its spaced-out narration: "some people get off on a needle...then there is a thumb and blanket. But the ultimate pacifier is a warm, wet nipple." "Witch Doctor's Brew" and the more impressive, ten-minute "Composition Seven," by contrast, make much use of Miles Davis-ish jazz-rock fusion keyboards in their groove-oriented, jammy passages, the latter tune boosted by an irresistible Latin beat. The album was entirely overlooked in comparison to the more famous artists mining the same grooves, both when it was made and when such sounds have come back into fashion. And it absolutely demands a hearing by anyone who digs these sorts of combinations, even if the group were not as original as the giants of the genre.
© Richie Unterberger /TiVo

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