The versatility of melancholy never ceases to inspire and enrapture. The smallest Creature know this all too well. Magic Beans, despite the fairytale moniker, is an album that explores the dark depths of people and our relationships to others.
The Cyprus-based quartet is audibly influenced by timeless acts like Radiohead and The Smashing Pumpkins. The guitar is heavy here, the reverb almost experimental in scope, and the vocals hold on and press through. The timing is right, too. This album feels like the end of a season — the spark of optimism saved for the last moment.
This is no more clear than on “October Song” — an album highlight and not just for its aptness. Here, the atmospheric nature takes a stronger stance than on moody album opener “Would you Blink”. The slow melody leaves space for growth: and grow is exactly what the rhythmic track does.
The smallest Creature play with lyrical structure, often falling into catchy repetition. I would make comparison to a chant, but the ever-shifting melodies prevent this from sticking. On tracks like late 80s flavoured “Break Me” and almost-bluesy “You are Ready”, stasis hides at the edges, watching the melodies roll out.
With lyrics like “You’d better not hide from me.” (“Come Back”) and “Commit your anger here again / Too little too late failed again” (“Crawl”), you’d expect this record to feel ceaselessly heavy. And perhaps, in places, the darkness starts to wear down, but when the light comes in on the softer, album-closing “The Mist”, you’ll forget all that. The relief is made stronger because of its absence for so long. “And if I am brave for a while / I’ll lift you up / You’ll see how the world from up here / is just one laugh,” Stefanos Marnerides sings, as the noise builds up around him.