One of the most consistent bands in prog is Magic Pie. Sure the name is odd but they are prog, right? “Fragments of the 5th Element” continues their tradition of what I call edgy prog rock. Oft times, prog rock misses the “rock” part. Magic Pie walk the line between prog rock and even prog metal but never quite get too metallic.
They have an element of Arena Rock that most prog bands seem to avoid. Imagine if there was a way to merge the radio friendly nature of 80s Journey with their early 70s roots. That really doesn’t cover Magic Pie entirely! I have always heard parts of Kansas, Spock’s Beard, Rush and Genesis in their music and “Fragments of the 5th Element” is no exception.
The main difference with this fifth album is that the edginess is a bit sharper than it has been in the past. Yes the big harmonies are still there. Yes the top notch musicianship is there. And yes the album closes with a massive epic in “The Hedonist.” But there’s a “fatness” to the overall sound. Maybe a bit more raw than we’ve heard from Magic Pie. It could be Rich Mouser’s mix (Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic).
Magic Pie are what I call “listenable” in that there’s never a wrong time to put them on. A “go-to” band if you will. “Fragments of the 5th Element” starts with a powerhouse opener in “The Man Who Had It All.” The riff laden “P&C” is like Deep Purple jamming with Spock’s Beard.
“Table for Two” is another one of those radio ready songs that Magic Pie are known for. Then the album closes with the two epic songs. “Fragments of the 5th Element” has it all. If you don’t know Magic Pie, “Fragments of the 5th Element” is a great introduction to this fine band!
1. The Man Who Had It All
3. Table For Two
4. Touched By An Angel
5. The Hedonist
Label: Karisma Records
Release Date: 30 August 2019
Fully agree, Rob!
Well, thanks for these guys! Didn’t get to this album yet, but mused over their first and second to last albums. At times they sound full-on retro, but luckily they go lots of different places other than 70s prog/hard rock (I don’t mind retro in measured doses, but I don’t like it when bands go for “let’s emulate Deep Purple/Genesis/Engelbert Humperdink throughout the whole album” kind of stuff). So, the band is great overall, a lot of different moods and styles. And if they got even heavier on the new record, I’m twice as curious. People need to get heavy (both in terms of the sound and the weight!).