KEVIN ROBERTSON – Album Review: “Magic Spells Abound”

Kevin Robertson is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Aberdeen, Scotland who makes a very agreeable style of jangle pop. His music is strongly influenced by a range of influences, including 60’s pop, classic and psychedelic rock, 80’s jangle music and 90’s Brit pop. He’s been actively recording and releasing music both as a solo artist and as a member of Aberdonian (I love that word) jangle pop five-piece The Vapour Trails since 2019.

In a short period of time, Kevin has released a sizable amount of music under his own name, beginning in 2021 with his debut album Sundown’s End, followed by Teaspoon of Time in 2022, as well as a number of singles, demos and session recordings. On March 31st, he dropped his latest album Magic Spells Abound, an aptly-titled collection of nine exquisite songs. Recorded by Kevin with the help of musical friends who have appeared on his releases over the years, the album was produced by Nick Bertling, and released by the Subjangle label in conjunction with Futureman Records.

Listening to Magic Spells Abound calls to mind the music of so many great acts of the 60s, 70s and 80s, yet Kevin’s beautifully-crafted songs are thoroughly original. The album opens with “As the Crow Flies“, a charming and hopeful song that immediately makes me think of the beautiful melodies and harmonies of the Traveling Wilburys. In fact, Kevin’s pleasing vocals even remind me of the late George Harrison on this track as he sings “Don’t be afraid of the sunshine. Don’t cause alarm. Don’t be afraid of this darkness. It means you no harm.” So, too, with the mysterious and lovely “Candlestick Morning“, where his vocals and intricate guitar work seemingly pay homage to Harrison, at least to my ears.

On “Make Believe” and “Autumn Brings“, with their captivating melodies and infectious, foot-stomping grooves, both his stunning jangly guitars and vocals seem to channel the Byrds. Kevin’s skill for writing beguiling melodies is beautifully showcased on the winsome “The Crest of a Dream“, highlighted by an enchanting hook and some fine harmonica work. And on the breezy, uptempo “Cloak and Dagger“, Kevin and company nicely capture the glorious harmonies of Crosby, Stills & Nash.

One of my favorite tracks is “Wander On“, with it’s catchy toe-tapping beat, colorful array of jangly and fuzzy psychedelic guitars, and buoyant Beatles-like harmonies. The lovely, folk-tinged “Sunset” is yet another terrific song, with it’s bewitching twangy guitars and sublime harmonies. And on the final track “Equilibrium Blues“, Kevin blends pleasing folk rock with spacey psychedelia to create a fascinating and compelling song that’s part Crosby, Stills & Nash and part Electric Light Orchestra. The lyrics seem to speak of evil forces at work to create uncertainty and chaos around us: “They’re coming from the gutter, to destroy your equilibrium./ There’s not enough love in the sky to bring such a tear to one’s eye.”

I like everything about this album – the masterful arrangements, gorgeous guitar work and myriad instrumental touches – but it’s the marvelous harmonies throughout that really make Magic Spells Abound such a great record for me. Kevin is a very talented singer-songwriter and musician, and has much to be proud of with his latest work.

Connect with Kevin:  FacebookTwitterInstagram

Find his music on BandcampSpotifyApple Music 

17 thoughts on “KEVIN ROBERTSON – Album Review: “Magic Spells Abound”

  1. Pingback: EGGS ON MARS – Album Review: “Warm Breakfast” – ECLECTIC MUSIC LOVER

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