Hailing from Essex, “the armpit of England” as they put it, indie funk band the Magistrates are a refreshing concoction of pop-punch sure to be served at college age dance-parties around the world. The precocious quartet, consisting of Paul Usher (vocals, keyboards), Mark Brandon (guitar), Thom Galbally (bass) and Andy Grant (drums), has crafted an impossibly snappy white-boy funk sound that merges interesting guitar hooks with catchy melodies and dance beats.
Think of the ’80s and you’re often reminded of a decade guilty of producing throw-away pop; but these young lads are proud of their influences which range from Prince to David Bowie and Talking Heads. The band seems to have a natural design for dance, updating the old with the new. Not wanting to copy the past but rather draw from it, they make pop music that “pushes things forward”.
The Magistrates could indeed ‘infect the world with a groove like some out-of-control STD’ as they claim if single ‘Make This Work’, a precursor to their upcoming debut album, is anything to go by. Usher’s lady-killer falsetto, Brandon’s scratchy guitars and the near organic clatter of ramshackle beats are hard to fault even with its unpolished, rough around the edges quality, while follow ups ‘The Inbetweens’ and ‘Colour Coordination’ with their frenetic pace are likely to be more immediate with current indie-dance favouring music fans.
Given the nature of the band’s hometown, which is a place where you either fight or play music, it’s fortunate for us that they ended up doing the latter. Rehearsing in Brandon’s bedroom and recording on a dingy old 16-track, the band wrote a full album before releasing any material or demo. While not overly produced, the exercise had paid off; XL Records has signed a 4-album deal with them. J
JUICE caught Magistrates Live at the adidas Spring Summer 09 Fashion Show in Milan. Lucky us! For more info on the band and free downloads, take your bad selves to www.myspace.com/magistratesband and www.magistratesband.com.