Magenta has always been an anomaly for me. I have always liked their music, and Christina’s voice is definitely one of my favorites in prog today, but I’ve never delved too deeply into their discography for some reason. They exist in the modern progressive rock spectrum, but they’ve always been neo-prog, too, in my estimation. After Christina’s illness, I wondered about the future of the band, but here they are releasing a brand new album called “We Are Legend”. What I am hearing in this album, thankfully, is that the band is as inspired and musical as ever, and maybe even more so.
Magenta is officially made up of Christina Booth on vocals, Rob Reed on guitars and keys, and Chris Fry also on guitars. Jon ‘Jiffy’ Griffiths on drums and Dan Nelson on bass also offer their talents here. Like I said, Magenta plays a modern prog rock that borders on neo-prog, but they’ve always managed to keep it fresh and interesting.
In order to understand the music, one must understand the theme, too. The album has this overall theme of a victorious and triumphant reclaiming of our world. I’m sure it’s political in some measure, but they do a good job at keeping it a theme that lends itself very well to the music without being heavy-handed. The whole album is more upbeat and brighter than you might expect, featuring lots of vigilant hope and hair-raising exuberance.
The music, therefore, follows this theme. This album has more of an edge to it than I expected. I don’t mean a “heavier” edge, but rather this eccentric, melodious edge to everything that makes all three tracks feel inspired and towering. I would almost describe it as a feeling of potent earnestness or a case of free flowing emotions, and both of those ideas lead to white hot moments and truly glorious soundscapes. That means the album has serious upturns that truly fit the definition of “epic”, though I’d add that some of it feels rather sci-fi in nature, too.
Their musicianship is without question of the highest order. Like I said, Christina’s voice is one of my favorites. Her recent solo album was a real treat for the ears, and I feel that we are getting more of that emotional style on “We Are Legend”. That means that vocals have great range in both octave and in emotion, but she is equally good at offering bouncy, fun choruses, too. Jon and Dan’s contributions on drums and bass are very important to the album, offering the grooves and the thunder that the album needs, and Christina’s performance is enhanced greatly by them.
Robert’s guitars and keys are truly something special, as well. His keys are all over the place in style, offering a true sense of glory and passion. Guitars from Rob and Chris, though, are even better. Chris specifically evokes Gilmour quite often throughout this album. I haven’t heard some truly Gilmour-ish guitar work for a while that includes both the emotion and also the peacefulness that is a mark of Pink Floyd. Chris really nails it here with some fantastic solos. Robert’s guitar offerings impress, also, and he has his own more dynamic and bluesy style that you will hear mixed in with the Floydian stuff. I’m honestly in love with the many licks and rhythms that he produces, and his style strikes me as somewhat eccentric, as can be seen in the music video for “Trojan”.
Yes, the album is only three tracks. The first track is over 26 minutes long, however. “Trojan” truly feels surprisingly short, though. It fluctuates from ambient textures to melodious prog rock to synthy leads, so it feels fresh and always changing. I especially love the ending with the sweet electronic waves. It’s honestly a track that you don’t want to end because every part is better than the last. It is unusual for the “epic” to be my favorite track on an album, but this is certainly the case here.
“Colours” and the title track are like extensions of “Trojan”. The former is a truly beautiful song with a great performances all around, but I feel like “We Are Legend” is the better of the two. The title track has this addictive quality to the chorus and main melody that really makes it memorable. Overall, the whole album sounds much more inspired than their last couple albums. I feel the love of their music really shows through on this album, and it often gives me goosebumps during some of the more potent moments. If you are looking for an album that will elevate your spirit and maybe even clench your fists a little, “We Are Legend” is the one you need to hear.