The Magnifiers - For the People
The Dombrowskis are an unusual family. Their band, The Magnifiers, includes four siblings varying in ages from seventeen to ten years old. Some might mistake them for a novelty act, but the band’s 2014 debut Report Card and this powerful follow up For the People attest to their penchant for ear catching, energy-packed punk rock numbers that have immense musical credibility while also demonstrating a playfulness that seems quite befitting of their age while never seeming sophomoric or straining for effect. For the People is musically solid, but its entertainment value can’t be underestimated and each of the EP’s four songs burns bright with their willingness to give themselves over to the moment in an effort to thrill and bring smiles to listener’s faces. Punk rock music, in virtually any form, is typically viewed as music of the moment, but The Magnifiers are writing very durable songs at a young age showing they are powerful budding songwriters as well as obviously gifted musicians.
Their songwriting chops are on full display with the first song. “Mostly Harmless” has a sly, mischievous sense of humor, but the band never relies too heavily on lyrical hilarity to win over potential fans. Instead, they evidence a broad based, well rounded approach that incorporates fantastic musicality, great song construction, and on point lyrics into an overarching package. The Magnifiers never overstress their comedic qualities – they just don’t take themselves half as seriously as many punk rock acts do, their screaming angst has much more to do with youthful brashness than genuine rage, and they keep their touch light. This changes somewhat on the EP’s second track “TV Hat”. There are glimmers of a growing disdain for the world’s flaws, however, creeping through in the lyric, vocal, and Elliot Dombrowski’s sizzling lead guitar, but there’s a smattering of the same humor distinguishing the first track. Much like “Mostly Harmless”, “TV Hat” is crafted for maximum effect and doesn’t waste listener’s attention with histrionics and pale imitation. It is vibrant and has its own distinct personality.
For the People hits its peak with the song “Anarchy Sucks”. This is pure punk music, expertly executed, and full of energetic humor. It’s quite clever to write a punk song decrying one of the genre’s central tropes, but The Magnifiers never back down and make it work with great aplomb. Vocalist Eden Dombrowski proves her mettle again with a convincing singing performance that never strains credibility – it will be quite interesting to hear how she develops over the course of future releases. The EP’s last song, “Transfiguration”, is a powerful acoustic tune that, despite the track’s low fi nature, reflects the same irrepressible spirit dominating the electric tracks. Their ability to seamlessly shift gears without ever betraying inconsistency in both sound and approach is a hallmark of a great band and The Magnifiers show such talent in a variety of areas that it’s impossible to imagine future releases won’t further improve on this impressive EP release.