The Magnifiers - For the People
The four song second EP release from Chicago based The Magnifiers isn’t your average punk rock. The four piece consists of siblings ranging from seventeen to ten years old and their 2014 debut Report Card announced the arrival of an uniquely talented unit. The Dombrowski kids play with all of the expected musical chemistry and the songwriting has a surprisingly sturdy quality that hints at the extent of their combined talents. They are early on in their careers, but they play with confidence and intelligence going far beyond their years. They don’t play like a bunch of teenagers and pre-teens. Instead, The Magnifiers play like an unit in their prime of their twenties and have poised themselves for a brilliant future. This is a band, as well, that has the potential to cross over in a big way; appearances in a Target commercial and in an episode of The Aquabats Super Show are just the first of those possibilities they’ve realized.
The sort of talents that’s secured them those spots is obvious from the beginning. “Mostly Harmless” has a delightfully playful edge. Rarely do The Magnifiers opt for bludgeoning the listener with heavy guitar and the opener picks up the EP with just the right amount of muscle and bounce. Eden Dombrowski is young, of course, but she has some great edginess in her youthful voice while also showing her capacity for playing up a chorus and making the most of melody. The vast majority of the songs on For the People confine themselves between three and four minutes in duration, but the performances never feel hurried. There’s a sense, instead, of a band who knows what they want to accomplish with a given performance and never waver about reaching those goals. Their one concession to brusing guitars comes with the second song “TV Hat”. Elliot Dombrowski unleashes torrid blasts of lead guitar, but Eden reaches the high level he establishes with an electronically treated vocal that, nevertheless, snarls and seethes with a fiery spirit. They offer up some soft pedaled social criticism with this track but it has a sarcastic and dismissive tone that seems youthful and intelligent all in the same breath. “Anarchy Sucks” shows off more of their songwriting creativity, in some ways, than any other song included on For the People. One might be tempted to call this track a spoof of sorts, mocking the typical punk rock attitudes, but the song has a visceral instrumental directness and great lyrics. The chorus is one of the EP’s high points and carries the energy level to a whole other level.
“Transfiguration” takes an unexpected turn in context with the preceding three tunes. The Magnifiers abandon the sonic firepower fueling the first three songs in favor of an acoustic track that brings For the People to a rather gentle, surprisingly introspective ending. It seems cliché to say that the band produces material far beyond their age group, but there’s no other way of putting it. The four songs on For the People are geared to catch listeners’ attention and they definitely succeed. Wildly.
9 out of 10 stars