Magic Trick is the newer side project of the incredibly prolific Tim Cohen, more famous for bands such as The Fresh and Onlys, Black Fiction, Sonny and the Sunsets, and others. Magic Trick started out as a solo project back in 2010, but after the release of his first cd he attracted members from other bands around the California area leading to this very well crafted, much more lush and haunting album that really encompasses a smorgasbord of instruments you will not find anywhere else. The only problem I have with Ruler of the Night is that it’s a very niche album.
Maybe it was the mood I was in when I first heard it, but I liked the cd a lot more after coming home tired after working a double, lying in bed, and hitting play, rather than listening to it while I review it. For one, all the different instruments, such as sleigh bells, tambourines, washboards, and more are a nice gimmick, but after a while that is exactly what it is, and gimmicks can get stale, really quickly. For instance, in the song, “Next to Nothing” there is some sound effect continually present in the background that’s very distracting and annoying. In fact, if I was going to describe this album to you in one word, it would be moments. I’d be hard-pressed to tell you what any of the songs are called or how they sound in a week, but I guarantee you I’ll be able to inform you about the whistling on “Angel Dust”, the intro to “Torture” that seems like the music to Starry Night, or the folksiness of “Invisible at Midnight”.
These moments are great, most of the time, and Tim Cohen has a very alluring, hollowed voice, but in the end the album itself is rather hollow and seems more of experimentation than a flat-out album. For those who are interested, I would take a look at the title track as it is the best depiction of what the band is trying to do and it does it superbly in that song.