THIS WEEK I’M LISTENING TO...MAGNUM – Here Comes The Rain (Steamhammer / SPV)
Magnum’s January album releases are becoming as much a part of the festive celebrations as polishing off the final mince pies and taking down the decorations, and the band’s twenty-third studio offering boasts – naturally – consistency as well as punctuality. ‘Here Comes The Rain’ could well rank as the best thing the band have released since their reformation back in 2001, with material like the lavish title track, ‘After The Silence’ and ‘I Wanna Cry’ with its sombre closing refrain indicating that that songwriter and guitarist Tony Clarkin will never lose the ability to conjure up songs of majesty and opulence. The mid-order bruiser ‘Blue Tango’ gets a special mention for raising the tempo as a riff-driven rock ‘n’ roller on which keyboard player Rick Benton gets his chance to shine and Clarkin solos the outro to his heart’s content; as does ‘The Seventh Darkness’, on which Chris ‘BeeBe’ Aldridge and Nick Dewhurst contribute saxophone and trumpet respectively, the duet between Aldridge’s sax and Clarkin’s guitar being almost worth the price of the album itself.
photo by Rob Barrow
It’s no great surprise that vocalist Bob Catley is on great form throughout, and the rhythm section of bassist Dennis Ward and Lee Morris are – much like the album itself – solid and dependable. The fifty-minute ten-track album is available as a digipack CD featuring a live DVD recorded at KK’s Steel Mill on 10 December 2022, and a ‘baby blue’ vinyl LP, as well as a rather grandiose box set which includes, amongst other things, the LP (in exclusive yellow/red splatter vinyl), the DVD accompanied by its double CD soundtrack, and a wholly essential (in these damp dismal January days) bright yellow Magnum-logoed umbrella.
Every silver lining has its cloud though, and the news that Clarkin’s back injury has led to the cancellation of the tour means that, for the time being at least, the material showcased here will not get a live airing, for the time being at least; and that is a terrible, terrible shame.
The day after this review was posted came the sad news of Tony Clarkin’s passing on 7 January. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP, Tony, and thank you for so much fabulous music over the years...
© John Tucker January 2024