The Magnifiers - For the People
The Magnifiers are a four piece band of siblings, none over the age of seventeen, hailing from the Chicago suburbs. The young age of these musicians is no impediment, however, to them crafting a first class collection of catchy punk rock tunes that never attempt remaking the wheel. Instead, they crackle with tremendous energy and more than a little bit of wittiness listeners may not expect. It isn’t subversive snark, but there’s an appealing insolence of youth burning through in these songs. The lack of ugliness is welcome – instead, these are high octane songs focused on guitar that brims over with the joy of playing music. The band’s second EP, For the People, features four songs that live up to its title and comes across with tremendous enthusiasm. The Dombrowski siblings are certain to be around in the music scene for some time to come and have the potential to gain some genuine mainstream traction for a variety of reasons.
The unquestioned stars of the show, though the band is amply talented, are vocalist Eden and lead guitarist Elliot. Eden is the first to take a turn in the spotlight with her veteran quality outing on the opener “Mostly Harmless”. Some listeners might recognize the title as a possible reference to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy novels, but the song has a distinctly different thrust that makes great use of the title’s familiarity. Eden has an unique sound as a singer straddling the line between the band’s alternative punk posture and pure commercial rock, but they never risk imitation. Lead guitarist Elliot Dombrowski shows he has the guitar chops to take this band in any direction they desire with his muscular performance on the track “TV Hat”. There’s some snarky humor in the lyrics, but there’s a surprising amount of social criticism as well that never sounds incongruous coming from such young performers. The effect, instead, is quite refreshing.
A refreshing point of view is the order of the day on the next song “Anarchy Sucks”. It’s quite novel to, essentially, write a punk rock song about how some punk rock tropes and attitudes aren’t particularly valuable, but the song certainly pokes more fun rather than finding fault. It’s the EP’s shortest song, as well, which further dovetails in with the punk spirit while still gently spoofing it. The Magnifiers show they are quite capable of balancing the required musical fury for punk rock music with substantive musical values like melody and strong choruses. The EP’s concluding song “Transfiguration” will astound many with its 180 degree stylistic turn into acoustic territory, but it sounds wholly consistent with what has come before and has the same sort of strong personality defining the previous three songs. For the People consolidates the achievements of the band’s first EP while building on them for future releases and it’s a sure bet that when The Magnifiers unleash their first full length studio album, it’ll be quite a doozy.
9 out of 10 stars