Article Contributed by Calabro Music Media | Published on Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Bursting forth in a bouquet of dreamlike hooks, choral vocals and Moog pitch-bends, Magic Fig’s self-titled, recorded debut proves that the technicolor heart of San Francisco’s psychedelic lineage is still beating and as vivid as ever. Due May 17 on Ethan P. Miller's impeccably curated Silver Current Records, the album's first single "Goodbye Suzy" (Listen Here) and its accompanying video are out today (Watch Here).

In the post-pandemic years five members of the Bay Area’s best and brightest pop, psychedelic and garage bands (The Umbrellas, Whitney’s Playland, Almond Joy and Healing Potpourri among them) quietly came together to create and hone their blend of progressive psychedelic pop. Keyboardist Jon Chaney, bassist Matthew Ferrara, drummer Taylor Giffin, guitarist Muzzy Moskowitz and lead vocalist Inna Showalter set out to form a group centered around creative collectivism. The musical result is a soft spoken, but eye-grabbing crown jewel, less a supergroup in the traditional hype terms and more a true sum of its parts in an experiment gone right.

Recorded in 2023 at Santo Studio in Oakland, Magic Fig tapped Joel Robinow (Once & Future Band/Howlin Rain) to produce. The brilliant Oakland musician, described collectively by Magic Fig as "a genius" and having "wizardly ways" brought a depth of experience and vast musical knowledge to a group of young, hungry musicians who are as interested in Debussy, Ravel and Duke Ellington as they are Caravan, Anne Briggs and Soft Machine. Robinow’s penchant for esoteric progressive psych rock par excellence and attention to pop detail is on full display throughout the album.

The songs overspill with sonic fireworks, top-shelf musicianship, hooks abound and, despite their foundations in complex harmonic structure and intricate composition, they ultimately embody a version of psychedelic progressivism that lands on the ears with pop joy while yielding none of the music's gravitas. Guitarist Muzzy Moskowitz describes the band’s creative pursuit: "We are attempting to make a music that encompasses a lot of different images and worlds. Something that can reach the outer limits of what a pop song can be. We want the music to convey a feeling of both childlike wonder and of death, myth and the unknown."

The album opens with ‘Goodbye Suzy’ in a burst of Canterbury fuzz-bass growl and bouncing fantasy-pop groove. At times Inna Showalter’s understated, angelic vocal delivery recalls echoes of Stereolab’s female-fronted 90s' Krautrock update, guiding the listener through the verses with a relaxed twee abandon before ascending into an array of Beatles-esque harmony layers at the song’s climax: In a parlor built of vice, Lick her eye, it might be nice, Do you think you’ll capture a cloud? Architect a grain of rice, That’s where Suzy keeps her dice, Throws them down in her goodbyes...

Showalter, who brings a background in Slavic church music and traditional choir, says of the abstract nature of Magic Fig’s lyrical narratives: "I've always been drawn to fairytales, fables, mythology, and lore, and couldn't be happier that Magic Fig has embraced that vibe. Being in this band has allowed me to embody my inner jester in a way I didn't realize was possible. I can really explore my sense of wonder and magic because the music takes me to another time and place."

Magic Fig's debut is made of chemistry, full of kaleidoscopic guitar lines, a rhythm section that swings for the fences, otherworldly keyboard sounds and fantastic abstract tales with no ending or beginning. It feels at once familiar in spirit yet fresh in its being, and is a light that is shining in San Francisco right now, living proof that talent still lands at this far western terminus and catches fire in the chance meetings and bonding with other incendiaries, now as it has always been.

Track Listing

1. Goodbye Suzy
2. PS1
3. Labyrinth
4. Distant Dream
5. Obliteration
6. Departure

Magic Fig's self-titled debut releases May 17 on Silver Current Records
Pre-Order / Listen Here