Magnetic Man > Album Review

By R-Katz  //  Music Reviews  //  1 Comment

Magnetic Man are a UK dubstep trio consisting of; Benga, Scream and Artwork. Several of their songs also feature the vocalist Katy B, who at 21 years old, has taken the country by storm. Their album was one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of 2010, after they realeased two genre-dominating tunes over the summer. They were of course; I Need Air and Perfect Stranger. 

Now before I continue, I wish to take a little detour. On December 10th 2007, Caspa and Rusko dropped their FabricLive 37 mix to an unsuspecting nation. Until this point, dubstep had been a dirty secret, kept underground, and certainly away from the blinding lights of the mainstream. This album changed the genre for good and pathed the way for a dubstep revolution. It was the first dubstep album I owned and it is still my favourite. It’s hard not to love it. The grimey, basey, in-your-face, collection of now classic tunes demanded that the listener pay attention and take notice. If it’s not already in your collection, fix that.

Now this particular sound led the way for artists like Scream and Benga to continue in this direction, and dubstep slowly started taking over a significant part of the Drum n Bass crowd, myself included. Since then Caspa has started his own label, Dub Police, who have established a residency in Fabric as well as touring all over the world.  As the genre has got bigger and bigger, the country (and some of the rest of the world) has been waiting for an artist or group to finally bridge the gap between underground and mainstream. Which brings me back to Magnetic Man.

The Magnetic Man album entices the commercial listener who perhaps loved the other tune of the summer from Magnetic Man featuring Katy B, Katy On a Mission, and gives them a wider education into the dubstep genre. Incidentally, this track doesn’t feature on the album, but it is largely responsible for the recognition of the Magnetic Man name.

Personally, I don’t love the whole album. But I don’t think you have to love every track, that isn’t necessarily it’s purpose. Rather appealingly there is something for everyone on it. If you’re like me and prefer the harder, darker stuff, then you have tracks like ‘Certified Banger’ and ‘Box of Ghosts’. If you prefer the more vocal, comemrcial style tune, you can enjoy the sounds of tracks like ‘Ping Pong’ or ‘Fire’ featuring Ms Dynamite, which is set to be their third UK single realease.

I have two criticisms of the album as a whole. Because of the range of tracks, although it serves as a good education into the different styles of dubstep, it doesn’t really work as a collection of tracks to listen to all the way though. I found myself attempting to listen to it in one go, but then dipping in and out, trying to find tracks of a similar style and tempo to group together. The other problem I have with it is that there are a couple of tunes that just don’t belong on the album at all. The un-subtely named track ’K Dance’, plonked right in the middle of the album, is a trippy and offkey beat. It causes a divide in your listening if you have the whole album on, and I found myself having to skip most of it, because for want of a better word, I found it plain irritating.

The final three tracks found on the iTunes ‘bonus tracks list’, were actaully pretty good. I have to admitt that I find the fact that Benga has remixed his own tune, slightly confusing, if not a tad ridiculous. As to whether I prefer his remix to the orignial, I would have to confess rather embarrassingly, that I do.

I found myself  just about satisfied at the end of the 19 tracks. It was pretty much what I had expected, a couple of let downs and a couple of pleasant surprises. The fact is that their talent is very real and their pressence on the front line of this dubstep revolution is one which is well deserved. If you haven’t already seen this video of them performing live at Maida Vale studios, do so immediately:

I doubt there are many people who would call into question their skills, or Katy B’s raw talent, after watching it. So if you’re a veteran dubstepper or a new-born dubbaby, I recommend you jump on this dubwagon (ok I’ll stop that now), because as far as chart music goes, this is pretty damn tasty.

Disagree with everything I’ve said? Think you can say it better yourself? Well, you’re probably right, so why not contribute a review of your own or leave a comment below..? You can send any submissions to rob@liveravereview.com. See you on the dubstep dance floors.

1 Comment to “Magnetic Man > Album Review”

  • Spot on!

    That’s exactly what I thought about it, there was no coherence between the tracks at all, no journey through the album. Songs themselves were pretty average too – thought ‘The Bug’ was the only stand out track. I was pretty disappointed having loved the all of the stuff they have released this Summer!

    I recon overall it serves as a good accessible introduction to the different sorts of music in the genre though. Perhaps one to buy your uncle that thinks he’s trendy for Christmas