The Magic Lantern’s ‘To The Islands’ | A Deeply Poignant And Musically Rich Collection

Australian born, London-based Jamie Doe – aka The Magic Lantern – has previously received acclaim from the likes of The Guardian, BBC 6Music’s Lauren Laverne and BBC Radio 2’s Jamie Cullum, and has now returned with his eclectic new album ‘To The Islands’.

A breathtaking fusion of sounds from start to finish, ‘To The Islands’ is a poignant collection showcasing the depth and versatility of Doe’s songwriting capabilities. Immediately captivating the ears with the sweeping anthemic splendour of opening track ‘Holding Hands’, we’re introduced to Doe’s smooth, flowing vocals intertwined with harmonic rich musical layers. With a sparkling, folk-tinged emotion reminiscent of the likes of Johnny Flynn, it’s a perfect start to the album.

From the twinkling keys and throbbing bass-lines of the almost Death Cab For Cutie-esque ‘Albatross’, to the gentle finger-picked melodies and Jose Gonzalez-like melancholic vocal tones of ‘Between The World And Me’, Doe proves his ability to create luscious soundscapes by fusing together an eclectic range of influences.

Continuing with a cinematic grandeur and classical inflections, ‘Scattered Leaves’ offers a glistening layered soundscape as Doe’s impressive velvety vocals soar, before the heart-wrenching power of ‘Lydia’. Reflecting on the naïveté of following your dreams, this emotion-strewn track flows with sweeping folk-infused finger-picked melodies alongside those distinctive impassioned vocals.

With a slight change in tone, ‘Tangled Chimes’ is propelled by a glitchy, anthemic fusion of sounds, carried by the deep resonance of Doe’s vocals and a theatrical sense of musicality reminiscent of the innovative work of Nils Frahm.

A spine tingling reflection on his Dad’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s, ‘Two Bells’ oozes a spellbinding emotion and raw lyrical honesty, whilst Doe showcases the sophistication and versatility of his songwriting with the rich majesty of the classically-tinged instrumental ‘Darling Day’. With shades of his Jazz roots, it’s an exquisite offering flowing with majestic piano melodies.

Closing the album with the uplifting message that happy endings are indeed possible, ‘Re:Her’ is a heartwarming ballad dedicated to Doe’s now wife. With a striking elegance and twinkling grace, it marks the end of a deeply poignant and musically rich collection.

To The Islands is out now via Hectic Eclectic Records.

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Photo by Dave Hamblett