Following on from their 2014 album, Pennsylvania trio The Stray Birds have had their sophomore release produced by Larry Campbell, cohort of Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Paul Simon. The outfit have a significant tour schedule for the remainder of the year, sandwiching 14 UK shows between stints on the road in America.
In an age where every other band is labelled the next big thing or in some way trailblazing, there's comfort in the lack of hyperbole to the biography on The Stray Birds' website. Of course there's talk of development, that's only natural, but ultimately they throw in a few quotes which accurately describe the Americana styling that is present throughout 'Magic Fire'. The lack of desperation in the likes of 'Third Day In A Row' to be mainstream crossover hits ultimately leads to a warmth that exceeds the glowing harmonies, while 'Sabrina' has a lovely lift in tempo that could soundtrack a hoedown.
Where the band excels is when they swoon - which is more often than not - and it is difficult not to be swept up by the likes of 'Fossil' or the laid-back beat of 'All The News'. The country-centric sound may ultimately not be to everyone's taste, but it's easy enough to admire this collection without having to a wardrobe of Stetsons.
It's nothing like the country vibe we were anticipating.
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