Exposé Online banner

Magenta — The Twenty-Seven Club
(Tigermoth TMRCD0913, 2013, CD/DVD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-01-11

The Twenty-Seven Club Cover art

According to legend, blues legend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads to achieve success. Then at the ripe old age of 27, the devil cashed in the debt. Over the years there have been any number of rock musicians who have joined this “elite” club (Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, Kurt Cobain, Freaky Tah, and Amy Winehouse to name a few). Check Wikipedia for a complete list. In 2008, Rob Reed of the Welsh prog band Magenta began working on a concept album about the Twenty Seven Club to try to craft the best collection of songs he could. Rob and his brother Steve composed songs for six selected club members “The Lizard King” (Jim Morrison), “Ladyland Blues” (Jimi Hendrix), “Pearl” (Janis Joplin), “Stoned” (Brian Jones), “The Gift” (Curt Cobain), and “The Devil at the Crossroads” (Robert Johnson). The basic premise is that each artist was tormented by internal demons that led to their untimely demise and the lyrics address different aspects or periods of their individual lives. On the surface you might expect from the song titles to hear musical touchstones to each artist, but that is not the case. Instead Magenta presents some intense and tightly orchestrated slabs of progressive music ranging from 7 to 15 minutes in duration. In addition to bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Rob Reed, Magenta is Christina Booth (vocals) and Chris Fry (lead guitar). Rob also enlisted drummer Andy Edwards (IQ and Frost) to complete the ensemble for this release. The guitars soar, the keyboards are excellent, and the drums are powerful. Plus Christina’s powerful and clear voice easily shines above the music. The music itself goes through many tempo changes and mood shifts integrating various elements of Genesis, Yes, and David Gilmour, as well as the heavier moments of Porcupine Tree. Without the song titles, you might be hard pressed to identify the individual artists, though Christina delivers a bluesy set for “Pearl.” Overall, quite an excellent effort from Magenta.

Also included in the package is a DVD with a complete 5.1 surround mix of the album, a “Making of” video, and a promo video for “The Lizard King.” The Making of video is a mix of interviews and recording sessions documenting how everything came together. At 107 minutes, it does get a bit tedious watching Rob and Chris run through multiple takes trying to get the licks just right. However, it is enjoyable to watch the creative process in work and how well each member works together and accepts criticism. Closing the disc is “The Lizard King” video that is an excerpt of the song filmed on a sound stage.


Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Magenta, Rob Reed

Latest news

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Pelt - Técheöd – Here we have three ambient tracks from a not-so-dark trio on the indie VHF label. According to the label website, the title of this album is pronounced "Tay-hoood," but I'm still not certain what...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues