The Magic Words is Lisa Walker. The veteran of the fine Wussy has here unveiled a whole slew of great tunes that are both brash and vulnerable in equal measure. That this is a compilation with the consistency of a single album says a lot about how good The Magic Words, out Friday on Damnably, is.
On the near-whispered "Loaded For Bear", Lisa sounds a faint bit like both Exene and Shelby Lynne, though the material is decidedly less country-ish than that of either, while on the superb "Watch Yer Back" she snarls in the manner of one of the Deal sisters from one of their many bands. Still, for the moments here that bristle with a bit of spark, a few others, like the lyrical "New American Standard" and the gentle "Hello Goodnight", strike out for new territory. Lisa Walker's voice here is such a nimble thing that a reviewer can only grasp at distant comparison-points (Tanya Donelly's solo stuff, Bettie Serveert) in attempt to pin down what this sounds like. Still, for all my love of lots of what's here, I almost wish that Lisa had pursued harder material, like "Rigor Mortis", more often over the course of the 2 records compiled here.
The Magic Words by The Magic Words is one of the best and most satisfying releases one is likely to encounter this late in the year. More details can be found via Damnably Records.
[Photo: Uncredited promotional picture from label]