Only Magic by Tom Sanders [8/10]

The first solo release from Tom Sanders, frontman of brilliant folk-indie-pop-rock outfit Teleman (itself born from the ashes of a wonderful band now lost in the sands of time, Pete and the Pirates), “Only Magic” sounds like lockdown and wonderfully so. I couldn’t help thinking of the vibe of Taylor Swift’s two lockdown albums: the simple, expansive arrangements, the focus on the voice and lyrics, the reflective tone of both music and words. Kicking off with a nostalgic, personal ditty, “Most of the Time,” which lifts off into a bittersweet chorus with his transcendent high vocals, this album is an immediate keeper. Put it on, switch to repeat, repeat, repeat, every song a minor hit. Soak up the acapella “boom cha” vocal bass and pellucid voice on “Baby All You’ve Got,” with its eerie closer. Whistle the bouncy gentle melody of what seems to be an ode to airplane travel, “Touch Down.” Such a sad but uplifting mini masterpiece is Sanders’s ode to childhood, “Being Human.” Only Magic is a deep and triumphant album, one immediately recognizable to those stuck inside but instantly transportable to the car radio once lockdown lifts. Recommended without reservation.

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