MAGIC POTION

With their second record, Magic Potion have something to say. The Stockholm four-piece released their debut full-length, Pink Gum, two years ago. It was the sound of friends enjoying themselves; carefree, melodic guitar lines and bouncy percussion drenched the songs in a summery atmosphere, and it was little surprise that they quickly drew favourable comparisons with American contemporaries – the parallels are flattering, but at the same time, they do a disservice to Magic Potion’s vision and ambition.

“If the first album was the sound of us fooling around and having fun,” says frontman Gustaf Montelius, “then we went into this one wanting to take everything a little bit more seriously, that goes for the music and the message. We wanted to explore new ways of writing together as a group as we’ve gotten to know each other much better musically” That’s precisely what they’ve done on Endless Graffiti, their striking sophomore LP. From the opening moments of the first track, ‘Swoon’, the musical progression is quickly obvious; the drums, which were recorded at two different Stockholm studios, are meatier, Gustaf’s vocals are more pointed, and the guitars have taken on more of a garage rock flavour.

Plus, as promised, there’s some weighty themes being grappled with on the record. “It came kind of natural to us – considering modern society, political climate, social media and the massive outpouring of information – to bring those topics into the record. As a group of friends making music together democratically as a band, it was interesting to explore the dichotomy of the individual and the collective, as well as reacting to the spectacle that is going on around us,” explains Gustaf. “I think the title, Endless Graffiti, is a good metaphor for that spectacle.”

If the ideas were different this time, the process of putting the album together was a similar one to Pink Gum. Drums aside, the record was cut to tape in the rehearsal room, with the band self-producing and bassist Kristoffer Byström handling mixing duties. “It’s a comfortable, secure place for us,” says drummer Andreas Sandberg, “and it was less about where we recorded than the relationships between the four of us. We’re all good friends, and we like to hang out, and after we toured the last album, we’d gotten to know each other even better; plus, Johan, our fourth member, had become a real part of the band. I think that comes across on the record; we were more confident, and we made all of the decisions ourselves. We trust each other, and there was always a good energy between us.”

There’s no doubt that Endless Graffiti will still invite references to US indie, as well as to some of their peers in the Stockholm garage scene, but Magic Potion are sounding more and more like their own band all the time; they found themselves listening to less and less new music over the course of the making of the album, instead more interested in what was happening between their instruments and the tape machine in their rehearsal room. “People are so quick to try to define your songs as soon as you put them out,” Gustaf reflects, “so we decided early on not to worry about that, or about it being the second album. We just did our own thing, and I think it shows.”


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IMAGES: To download, click above. Press photo courtesy of the band.

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