Magazine “Real Life” (1978)

You can’t seem to pick up a music magazine nowadays without some interviewee citing Howard Devoto and Magazine as defining influences upon their own musical aspirations. Either that or some sycophantic retrospective which seems totally out of proportion for a band who were nothing more than a mote in the eye of music chronology. Amazingly, in this case, the hype is totally justified. Unhappy with the direction The Buzzcocks were taking and, possibly, recognising the limited shelf life of punk, Devoto formed Magazine and attempted to weave punk conviction into a more conventional and structured rock format. I’m convinced that longevity was no more guaranteed down this route, but it proved a panoramic trip whilst it lasted. The album is full of highlights and some quite astounding musical performances, particularly the bass and keyboards on the likes of “Definitive Gaze”. Messrs Adamson, McGeoch, Jackson and Formula deserve praise. Personally I have reservations about Devoto’s vocal style but as a discordant counterpoint to the music it works perfectly. “Shot By Both Sides” is spiky rock at its best and “The Light Pours Out Of Me” remains in my personal top twenty to this day. Magazine paved the path for post punk, pity they couldn’t walk the road for longer themselves. –Ian

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