The Magic Numbers have traditionally relied on their charismatic frontman Romeo Stodart, but bassist sister Michelle and percussionist Angela Gannon have always been there in the mix, providing lovely harmonies and even taking the lead on a few of the tracks. Now Michelle is preparing to step outside of the close-knit band with a solo album that Romeo describes as “a Joni Mitchell-esque acoustic record”. Speaking to BBC 6Music ahead of the band’s performance at Glastonbury this weekend and Hyde Park support gig for Neil Young, Romeo said of his sister’s creation, ”It’s amazing, it’s beautiful, it makes me cry all the time. Anyone who heard her song ‘Take Me Or Leave Me’ on the second record [2006's Those The Brokes], which she wrote and sang, it’ll be in a similar vein to that.”
None of this means that The Magic Numbers themselves have not been hard at work on their next release, the recording of which Romeo revealed was recently completed with producer Valgeir Sigurðsson (Björk, Ane Brun, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy). The as yet untitled album is said to be heavily influenced by the classic songwriting of Fleetwood Mac and John Lennon. One song, ‘Throwing My Heart Away’ (sung by Angela), was described by Romeo as “quite Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks era” and “will probably be a single”. The final album has been whittled down from 25 songs written before the band went into the studio.
“We took some time out to begin with,” explained Romeo. “I’d been writing a lot but out of the original batch only four songs made the record. So over the year loads more songs were written and laid down…We’ve tried out different things, just different ways of writing songs. It was less about a band in a room and more about just sonically creating different sounds. So the girls have become multi instrumentalists…For rhythm tracks instead of drums we crumpled up bits of paper and found anything that made good sounds.”
Despite the recording being over and done with, the album isn’t expected to be out until early 2010. More news on Michelle’s solo effort when we get it.