Miracle Strip – Magic Milk (4 stars)

Fraternal Scots duo introduce themselves with the help of Still Flyin’s drummer, and an avowed fondness for Magnetic Fields and The Radio Dept.

Album review: Magic Milk by Miracle Strip

(Simply Thrilled)

The Miracle Strip was a popular amusement park on Panama City Beach in Florida which enjoyed an extended heyday from its opening in 1963 and throughout the rest of the 20th century. It eventually closed in a dilapidated state in 2006 when they flogged off all the rides to other parks across the States. We introduce this information here because, well, this band are called Miracle Strip, and listening to them gives us a strong sense of faded Cold War-era glamour too. They sound like the 1980s, albeit a misty-eyed reflection on a childhood spent in that decade, rather than a facile contemporary spin on what the period was meant to have sounded like.

When we say the 80s, by the way, we mean the semi-skilled, DIY, full-of-heart-and-charm 80s of recording John Peel’s show onto well-worn TDK cassettes rather than the era of yuppies and cocaine and Soho and New Romance. Fife-raised brothers Fergus Christie Jack and Malcolm Jack (the former a one-time member of Dirty Summer; the latter a writer for this magazine and one of the collective who help run Pictish Trail’s Eigg-based Lost Map imprint) are fully skilled at what they do, which is producing sonorous, affecting synth-pop anthems with a tropical bent and clanging guitar lines which remind of mid-period New Order. Yoshi Nakamoto of the Aislers Set and Still Flyin’ also features on drums.

Singer Fergus has a distinctive voice whose rolling baritone depths are offset by the occasional slip out of key when he reaches higher, an imperfection which is charming rather than off-putting on the glistening pocket epic ‘Take Running Jump’ and the blissed-out Madchester swoon of ‘Daydreams of Crashing’ (‘why stay alone / when it’s easier with you?’ he croons with a lazily contented sentiment).

There are shades of Scott Walker to ‘Flying Chances’ and early Pulp to the eight-minute ‘Two Silhouettes’, although with a brief instrumental title track which takes the song count up to seven, it feels like they’ve settled on introducing themselves with an extended EP rather than a full album.

Out now on Simply Thrilled.


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