Release Date: August 26th, 2016
Label: Arbutus Records
When it comes to ‘Magnificent Fist’ some would argue that it is neo-disco, while others would consider it part of the yacht rock revival. I am sure that Sean Nicholas Savage would simply say it is … well, Sean Nicholas Savage. And, to be sure, he places his own stamp on things, even though no one could dispute the heavy ‘70s influence.
What Savage crafts are, for the most part, soft rock ballads — the kind of material that (otherwise) disco artists would crank out in the 1970s for a seemingly insatiable market of listeners. Pastiche? Perhaps, but Savage does have more than a couple of tricks up his sleeve. “Inner Natural World” opens, quite audaciously, with harp music and an angelic choir, before sliding into a falsetto R&B softie. “Everything Baby Blue” features a lovely spanish guitar above the electronic (almost motorik) beat. He is also very clever with his vocals, usually opting for an ever-so-slight hoarseness that has a way of suggesting vulnerability. And when he self-harmonizing with much sweeter vocals (on “Fantasy”, for instance), well that’s really quite something.
If you are looking for lyrical (or even musical) depth then you’ve come to the wrong place, because this is a case of style over substance. However, ‘Magnificent Fist’ is as irresistible as colourful and sugary candy that you really don’t want to eat but you do anyway. Frankly, with all its bubbly enthusiasm and cooing charm, it is easy to understand why this kind of music was so popular 40 years ago.