Who would have thought that the most eagerly anticipated debut release of 2011 would be an EP of 5 glam-tinged and ultra-scuzzy slices of pop made by a bored Brighton-dwelling 20 year old? Teen Jamz is that release. Clocking in at just 18 minutes, the songs are powered by the weirdo energy that musicians who have been labelled slackers by the press have been drawing from for years. Every track is a showcase for main man Sam Mcarrigle’s skills as a songwriter and purveyor of simply enormous riffs. The problem that arises across the EP is it’s sincerity. Though Mcarrigle is clearly in thrall of Bowie and Bolan, his references to their sound can come off as lazy, each riff undistinguishable from the last. No new ground is ever broken.
Mcarrigle’s voice is also likely to divide opinion, a dog-botheringly high pitched wail that permeates every moment of the record. And therein lies the problem at the heart of Gross Magic; the wanton lack of fucks being given is an obvious aesthetic choice, adding heaps to their already established slacker image, but it drains the EP of any real warmth, leaving only artificial joy. One would hope that the obvious talent at work could be better utilised, maybe Gross Magic should go back to their beloved bedrooms and come out when they’ve written something that really demands our attention.
By Ned Powley