The a capella group, The Magnets, have been to Australia a number of times now, to the Cabaret Festival in June 2011 and, more recently, a couple of visits to the Adelaide Fringe. They have proven to be extremely popular with Adelaide audiences, and have quickly built up an enthusiastic local fan base.
Don’t be fooled by the bass and drums that you hear. There are no instruments whatever being used. That amazing bass is Fraser Collins (actually, Colin Fraser), and the ‘drums’ are the ultimate in beatbox by Andy Frost. Frost is, in fact, a drummer, and this probably has a lot to do with his style, with all of the complexities and richness that one expects of a talented and skilled percussionist. The other four members, Nicolas Doodson (tenor), Michael Welton (baritone), James Fortune (baritone), and Stephen Trowell (tenor and Musical Director), provide the melody and those superb harmonies.
Their recently released (15th March), latest CD, All This Time, opens with a marvellous version of Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill, and you can watch a video, made right here during the Adelaide Fringe, of the The Magnets performing that track, here. The CD contains a generous 13 tracks covering a wide range of material, including some originals, Running Around, and What you Gonna Do?
From Dire Straights, they reinterpret Romeo and Juliet, with a little of It Must Be Love inserted, David Bowie’s Changes gets a fresh new reading, and Adele’s Rolling in the Deep also gets a great makeover. Sting’s very poignant All this Time is sensitively handled, and The Jam’s Town Called Malice is a lively version, with prominent harmonies showing just how great these six performers are.
There is just so much to like on this album and it is very likely to appeal to anybody who has never heard of this great a capella British pop group. For those who do know them, it will be a ‘must have’ acquisition, to add to their growing collection of The Magnets CDs. If you can’t find it around town, you can order it directly through their web site.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.