Midnight Magic, formed in 2006, tries to capture soul and bravado on their latest EP, What the Eyes Can’t See. This EP is a homage to early 70’s disco and horn driven dance tracks.
What the Eyes Can’t See balances the necessary elements without becoming a parody or joke. The vocals can go from high toned to deep and soulful, echoing the famous disco sirens. The horns are never overbearing and move the songs forward between sung verses. The bass is always ready to be accompanied by dancing hands, pointing to the sky and then to the ground. Listening to Midnight Magic requires some hip gyration, some head bopping, an occasional twirl, and of course hand to sky, hand to floor. Repeat the movement: hand to sky and hand to floor.
The entire EP is even directed. On the title track features a sparse arrangement that provides a smooth jazz feel while the singer croons, “you/you/you/you/you/you do what you have to do.” The horns match the vocal tone on this song, and there’s almost a defense or bitter tone. What the Eyes Can’t See sets the stage with a heated dispute, one lover storming off, and the other trying to rationalize and guilt what just happened.
Heat, the next track, is cool without loosing the fast speed. The second track is driving in a car on the highway but not knowing where you’re driving to. The bass takes a step forward and the vocals drop a register to provide deeper resonance. Initially the lyrics are centered around the I, but halfway through shift back to talking about the second lover, the you. The song picks up pace at the halfway mark, but still remains a six minute introspective jam. Here as on the previous track the crashing cymbal compliments with the synth notes to not just produce a dance track but create the allusion of a band onstage.
The album then shifts and Someone’s Watching Me, the third track, acts like a brief interlude between the action. It’s complete with scratches, electronic blips, and rapid keys.
After the electronic heavy third track, the album moves back towards drums and horns. Julio gets points for not sacrificing the disco band elements or the electronic portions. By this point the two lovers have met in an epic dance moment, perspiration beads their bodies, they embrace and they rekindle their love on the dance floor. The track is both calm (the consistent bass line, and frantic and climaxes in a mess of keys).
The last track Calling Out, tries to reconcile everything that’s been introduced in the album and wrap it up neatly. It works sonically, but in terms of energy is a bit of a let down after the reconciliation in Julio.
What the Eyes Can’t See, is a successful blending of disco and electronic dance elements. The story provided by the lyrics further structures the energy of the album, providing a plot line that goes from the tragic separation, high energy, fast, to the important reconciliation, once again fast, high energy but more together, more secure.