In his latest outing, Last Magpie AKA Craig McNamara, has possibly produced his strongest work yet. Keeping within the same theme of nostalgic UK rave culture, he has met each track with a strong focus on emotive power. Every moment is deep and rich boasting a large amount of surface area within each component. It’s as if each piece has finally decided to emerge out of a huge warehouse they were once abandoned in twenty odd years ago. With confident reverb manipulation he has managed to encapsulate a time where music was big room to the core. A time where music was made for the effect it had on large crowds rather than sales. This EP, sees him move back to Hypercolour’s little sister, Losing Suki.
The title track is the most conventional sounding House track of the group. ‘Chicken Shop’, plays on the beefy percussion that unfolds throughout it’s bulk. Having noticed in McNamara’s previous work that his drums are always rugged, stripped back and raw- almost unfinished. It’s exactly this however that gives his style so much character. As the rugged percussion envelopes adjacent to a swelling lo-fi murmur, we are slowly teased by distant piano stabs; a typical House component found across much of today’s diverse label release ethos. Magpie’s are distant though, blanketing the track in a ray of nostalgia- almost as if it was pre-recorded.
‘Roots VIP’ takes a more up-front, close-and-personal approach. It’s at this point we realise the weight of the Magpie’s intentions. We begin things a little wishy-washy as gentle strings harbour us to the port, appetent and curious. A consistent 4×4 rhythm gradually builds as playful vocals bounce in and out its invariable structure. Around a minute in, things start to flourish and evolve until we peak into an epic dance floor antagoniser. Splicing Jungle with Break-beats and House sounds it’s a little crowded but he’s managed to draw out it’s most vigorous asset – bass.
In a contrasting turn of events, the thought-provoking ‘Initial’ really stands apart from the rest. It’s an emotional work that plays on the space between sounds. It’s almost reminiscent of the 2005 Modeselektor album ‘Hello Mom!’. Magpie moves back to the club with ‘She Won’t Let’. Big hall kicks lead wet, scurrying hi-hats into their own monotonous and eerie cycle. It’s catchiest aspect is the choppy Amen Break. Overall, this is his most solid release, mainly due to the fact that it has an underlining image that allows it to stand apart from today’s club-worthy releases. It makes you wish you were old enough to experience first-hand, the moments of rave nostalgia it’s so heavily steeped in.
‘She Won’t Let’ is out now and available to order on vinyl here.