Magic Pie - Fragments of the 5th Element

Magic Pie Fragments of the 5th Element cover
Magic Pie
Fragments of the 5th Element
Karisma Records
Well, this fifth element has nothing to do with the movie by the same name, but is the lovingly put together fifth album, but the Norwegians with an Icelandic gentleman on vocals, none other than Artch’s Eirikur Hauksson.
They have once more come up with the goods, meaning a highly melodious and harmonic mix of pop and prog, which doesn’t feel that it needs to put the undeniable virtuosity of the musicians above the actual songs themselves. The result is a lively mix of Genesis, Kansas, Queen, MKI Deep Purple, Fish era Marillion etc…
Kim Stenberg’s excellent ideas on guitar gel perfectly with the keyboards and the ultra-tight and vibrant rhythm section keeps things thumbing up and down, at times more melodic, at other times heavier, but always interesting.
The opener “The Man Who Had It All” is euphoricly complex and energetic enough to keep you entertained and ponderous at the poignant lyricism… electrifying and grin-inducing in equal measure. Sonorous, powerful guitars, thumping bass and dynamic drums combine with stylish keyboards and the highly distinctive vocals to deliver a massively enjoyable, rollicking musical ride that leaves you trying to catch your breath. As album openers go, it doesn’t get much more vibrant and energetic than this, now bring on the rest!
“P&C” is a little gruffer, slightly reminiscent of Jethro Tull vocally, with the same sardonic delivery, over nice riffs, while it also takes a jazzy break in the middle, just to mess around and solo a bit.
A funkier, “Steel Monkey” sort of song?
“Table for Two” is a lot more melodic and AOR-y with a chorus too much. A lot more American in a sense, with stellar, towering, guitar/keyboard exchanges driving much of it. It’s a pity it’s the shortest song on the album, as it stands out nicely.
“Touched by an Angel” is much softer, a pretty ambient ballad, but with some stellar guitars (intro and solo) just making you gasp for air. Utter brilliance.
Last but not least is a prog-athon, of a track. Clocking a couple of seconds South of twenty three minutes, “The Hedonist” could have easily been an exercise in futility, had its creators been all about showing off their individual chops, but the synergy between them, makes it an irresistible; slightly trippy, melodic masterpiece that doesn’t slack or overstay it’s welcome.
By keeping the melodies flowing Magic Pie manages to combine the best aspects of Marillion and Genesis without sounding tired and trite. I mean past the twelfth minute, they do let rip some solos, but after they’re done purging those ideas the song comes full circle, with a rather triumphant tone, despite it’s somewhat bittersweet lyrical overview of humankind’s dealings that could lead it to either triumph or catastrophe, equally as easy.
Well, forgive me while I hedonistically indulge in these guys newest album, but it’s so damn good, that I wouldn’t have it any other way. An excellent band with five albums that are all worth discovering.