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Magic Man

Before the Waves

[Neon Gold/Columbia]

3 stars

The sophomore album of synth-pop sweethearts Magic Man lives up to its first, self-produced album of 2010 (“Real Life Color”). The young Boston-based band has kept up its electronic sound, but it is now more akin to sister act Haim than the subdued The Postal Service, a band to whom they used to be compared.

“Before the Waves” starts out strong with “Texas,” perfect for dancing and with distinctly “summery” lyrics. In fact, the album only dips significantly in tempo once, about halfway through, during “Honey.” It makes for a nice break from the uptempo songs before it, but it also works well when the ensuing “Tonight” lifts the pace back up.

Though “Paris,” the proclaimed single, comes early on, there are some strong numbers toward the end of the disc. “Waves” is the hidden gem and possibly the height of the album with youthful lyrics and playful melodies.

Alex Aldi, who has produced albums for Passion Pit and Holy Ghost!, did the same for “Before the Waves.” His influence is prominent, and discernible in the album’s definite resemblance to the music of the “indietronica” band Passion Pit. This is a catchy album with memorable choruses and just the right amount of electronic undertones. Vocalist Alex Caplow has a distinct voice that jibes well with all manner of different instrumental and synthetic sounds.

The band is clearly maturing and the future looks bright.

– Andra Cernavskis