There is an immediacy to the music of Magical Beasts; even if they don’t seem to know it themselves. The Chicago band — led by Nathan Paulus — have released a six-song collection of yearning anthems that sprawl and stretch for something just beyond. Their BandCamp bio reads, “Making the music you didn’t know you wanted to hear, but then you are like, ‘Damn, that’s a good sound.’ … After you have listened a few times.” It’s not difficult to disagree with the last sentence.
While the songs take on their own lives with repeat listenings — the compositions rich with layered nuance that can’t be collected in the almost overwhelmingly emotive first listen — there is a magnetism to the melodies and repeated mantras that are present on Yes, My Love, I Am Reaching.
Magical Beasts are quick to point out that this is not a religious album, but it does tilt at ideas of devotion and patience and something grander. For the most part, it’s clear that something is love. Whether the love comes from walking alongside each other, as on “Come Find Me” and “Darling”, or in the warmth that another can provide, as in “7 Nights”, on which Paulus croons, “You filled my cup, you drank my love / Though it was winter it was warm enough.” There is a sombreness that spreads into something grand, evoking the heavy emotional style of Damien Rice.
But the songs are not all heavy and steeped in the lack of winter light. “Little Buds” finds a jauntier tune that you could imagine dancing to at a barn party: straw beneath your feet and the warmth coming from your own activity. You can only imagine that this song would bring the house down when played live.
Yes, My Love, I Am Reaching might be a winter album — born from the ideas of the cold season and released in December — but there is so much warmth in the love, dedication, and repeating motifs of camaraderie.