The Magnapinna – ‘This Is No Wave’ | Track by Track

Magnapinna

The Magnapinna’s This Is No Wave EP is out now.

Hailing from Cork in Ireland, The Magnapinna are the rarest of beasts. A group that manage to combine humour, metal, and awesomeness. Plus, they make it seem so easy. Plying a kind of alternative metal/rock that calls to mind the likes of Faith No More and QOTSA, the outfit are seductively unhinged. Like a bear that’s gotten into the honey.

They helped us get to grips with their awesome EP, This Is No Wave

This Is No Wave

The five songs on this EP are a mix of the third and fourth wave of The Magnapinna’s music. We wrote some songs very early on and others were a work in progress right up to when we hit record. We headed out to West Cork with Pavol Rosa, and worked through a three-day weekend. We basically ate, slept, drank and wrote in the creative confines of the studio.

Mr. Rosa is a recording master and unrelenting machine, it made for a very enjoyable and productive experience. There were no creative restrictions, every idea was given time, and those that made the cut ended up being some of the greatest musical moments of the final recording. We’re already a couple of releases ahead of “This Is No Wave”, stay tuned for more on that in the coming months.

The title of the release came from our early desires to create something fresh and exciting. We had no interest in any specific genre or musical direction; we just wanted to write songs that were fun to perform. The term “No Wave” is what we use to describe this result. We had the working title of “Selfie”, and as much as that describes the overall listening experience we were trying to emulate, a vain fleeting moment in time, “This Is No Wave” seemed more of a statement of intent. There’s a false perception out there that we’re predominantly a silly bunch, but even a cursory listen to this release will show that we have a creative manifesto that is without compromise.

“Surf’s Up Baby”

Surf’s Up could be considered the veteran song of the EP having being a mainstay of our set for many moons. When it started out, we wanted to create a catchy and upbeat alt-rock song with some swagger. There was a ridiculous surf rock riff for a bridge, but this was removed to sharpen up and shorten the song. The title, a work in progress at first was then adopted and used as the hook for the chorus. It was written for radio, no deep meanings here. Drive to the beach and go surfing, echoing the feel-good teen lifestyle vibe of the ’60s. We all had our moments with this song; Mike Jordan has something like 7/8 vocals tracks on it. He just took an idea and ran with it. The rest of us dressed up, ate grapes, and basked in his creative genius. “You and me babe, we ‘re gonna paddle out”.

“Another Pop Song”

This riff was introduced as “there’s no fucking way we can use this”, but we said “to hell with that” and just ran with it. It’s the most generic 90’s chord trio we could muster. We played versions of it live and it always went down a treat, so we developed it into something we could stand by. It’s an observation on the shallow world of Tinder and Grindr dating. Much like the song, it’s a poor imitation of the real-life experience that will leave you empty and without the necessary skills to have a conversation with a member of any sex. It’s a populist musing, but a relevant one. “Reading the menu on your own again? / What’s happened to all your friends?”.

“Neurosis Jackson”

Anytime you hear an 80’s Michael Jackson tune on the radio, your tail starts to shake mere moments before the stark reality behind the artist’s existence screams at you from a place of trial by media, untold truths and broken dreams. When we were listening back to this in the studio, the click track was in perfect tune with the riff, so James played a replica of the click on guitar and we left it in. In between all the handclaps and boogie, there’s that middle section where it all crashes into a neurotic and nihilistic introspective about the decay and collapse of society thanks to the ravages of social media. It’s where the EP starts to bridge towards more a more uncomfortable and experimental space for the band. From that moment on, anything is possible. “See the Universe, it’s all in Three’s”.

“Cowboy Disco”

This is definitely a band favourite for playing live, and probably the most dynamic track on the EP. The first three songs were written drop tuned to C#. With the remaining two songs, we dropped the E string further to G#, giving a tuning of G# G# C# F# A# and D#. Cowboy Disco fits into this tuning like a fresh leather cowboy boot to a well-socked foot. It’s a pumping tune for good times. James wrote the “shit-kicking” cowboy lick on the fly, exhausted after 3 hours of sleep at midday Sunday. It incorporates a 90s rave influence, doom laden bridges and a sharp commentary on the current zeitgeist as seen from the Magnapinna,s POV. “Go and buy the world you live in, always posting and underachieving”.

“Black Summer Days”

I always wondered what would happen if the likes of The Frames, or Bell X1 were part of a scene similar to early 90’s Black Metal. Would Glen Hansard stab Damian Rice 23 times in self defense and spend his best years behind bars playing with a synthesizer? Would David Kitt go around burning down churches and wear corpse paint? Would they start a socio-political youtube channel with an amazing catchphrase? We wanted a summer ballad with saccharine lyrics and blast beats, so Christian and Ed wrote the cheesiest verses they could think of and got Mike on lead vocals to soften the tone before all hell breaks loose. It was the last track we recorded, so we emptied the chamber pot on it. There’s Easter Eggs all the way through for those that like that kind of thing. James nailed the solo in one take; we all pretty much blasted our way through. The vocals were a challenge, we were pretty spent after the previous four tracks, but we persevered and had everything down by the stroke of midnight. All the original vocal tracks are still in there, masterfully mixed by Mitch Gasser in his executive studio in Switzerland including a line or two from Zhi Ren frontman, Chris Daly. 

This song was written for a Hollywood ROM com. Brad and Stacy are in the park, Stacy dumps Brad and both have the same realization that all life, endeavour, actions, emotions be they negative or positive are meaningless and “All is Dust”. We await Chuck Lorre’s phone call with bated breath.

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