The Secret Of Magnets

Solid For Sixty

Record Cellar Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Solid For Sixty is a Philadelphia-based group whose musical philosophy is one part Nuggets-style rock, one part Neil Young, and one part Flying Burrito Brothers. It's an interesting, if somewhat confusing at times, musical marriage that is highlighted on their second disc my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Secret Of Magnets, but for all its stumbles, it's a journey I'd gladly take again.

This five-piece group, led by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Gerry McGoldrick, sometimes has a feel in these 10 songs that even the band isn't quite sure which direction the music is going to go. From an established band, this isn't such a bad way to go; from an independent group fighting to get their name out there, sometimes this is a bit nerve-wracking. (In all fairness, all the members of Solid For Sixty are veterans of the indie music scene, so it's not like they have no experience... still doesn't make me feel better about the aimlessness of some of the songs.)

How so? The opening two songs of the disc, "Where You Are" and "High Rise," sound almost like something that could have been lifted from Young's Ragged Glory album, yet there is almost a sense of confusion underlying the basic track. This doesn't mean these two songs are bad, but it does cause one to wonder what the bulk of The Secret Of Magnets has in store.

Foertunately, there are moments of sheer brilliance on this disc. Songs like "Deep Blue Concussion," "Blue & Hazel" and "All Comes Down" offer more than a mere ray of hope, and suggest that Solid For Sixty indeed knows what they are doing, almost like an unpolished Bottle Rockets or Jayhawks. Moments like these are what keep me returning to this disc, and make me want to hear what McGoldrick and company have in store for their third album.

The commercial music scene has not been kind to groups of this musical ilk, and one sadly may conclude that Solid For Sixty wouldn't stand a chance against the Destiny's-Backstreet-Britneys of this musical generation. All I can say is, too bad... The Secret Of Magnets shows me that things are just getting interesting.

Rating: B-

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© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Record Cellar Records, and is used for informational purposes only.