Exposé Online banner

Magenta — The Twenty-Seven Club
(Tigermoth TMRCD0913, 2013, CD/DVD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-01-11

The Twenty-Seven Club Cover art

According to legend, blues legend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads to achieve success. Then at the ripe old age of 27, the devil cashed in the debt. Over the years there have been any number of rock musicians who have joined this “elite” club (Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, Kurt Cobain, Freaky Tah, and Amy Winehouse to name a few). Check Wikipedia for a complete list. In 2008, Rob Reed of the Welsh prog band Magenta began working on a concept album about the Twenty Seven Club to try to craft the best collection of songs he could. Rob and his brother Steve composed songs for six selected club members “The Lizard King” (Jim Morrison), “Ladyland Blues” (Jimi Hendrix), “Pearl” (Janis Joplin), “Stoned” (Brian Jones), “The Gift” (Curt Cobain), and “The Devil at the Crossroads” (Robert Johnson). The basic premise is that each artist was tormented by internal demons that led to their untimely demise and the lyrics address different aspects or periods of their individual lives. On the surface you might expect from the song titles to hear musical touchstones to each artist, but that is not the case. Instead Magenta presents some intense and tightly orchestrated slabs of progressive music ranging from 7 to 15 minutes in duration. In addition to bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Rob Reed, Magenta is Christina Booth (vocals) and Chris Fry (lead guitar). Rob also enlisted drummer Andy Edwards (IQ and Frost) to complete the ensemble for this release. The guitars soar, the keyboards are excellent, and the drums are powerful. Plus Christina’s powerful and clear voice easily shines above the music. The music itself goes through many tempo changes and mood shifts integrating various elements of Genesis, Yes, and David Gilmour, as well as the heavier moments of Porcupine Tree. Without the song titles, you might be hard pressed to identify the individual artists, though Christina delivers a bluesy set for “Pearl.” Overall, quite an excellent effort from Magenta.

Also included in the package is a DVD with a complete 5.1 surround mix of the album, a “Making of” video, and a promo video for “The Lizard King.” The Making of video is a mix of interviews and recording sessions documenting how everything came together. At 107 minutes, it does get a bit tedious watching Rob and Chris run through multiple takes trying to get the licks just right. However, it is enjoyable to watch the creative process in work and how well each member works together and accepts criticism. Closing the disc is “The Lizard King” video that is an excerpt of the song filmed on a sound stage.


Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Magenta, Rob Reed

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Crucis - Kronologia – Here's the summary — this is easily one of the best 10 CDs claiming the progressive rock title to be released, well, since they invented the medium! How could any music live up to such lavish...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues