August 14, 2012
Come see Magic Trick play at Johnny D's! When it came time to play shows, Cohen recruited a handful of friends — including James Kim (Kelley Stoltz’s band), Alicia Vanden Heuvel (Aislers Set), and Noelle Cahill — to help him flesh out his pet tunes in concert. But Cohen was never totally sold on the solo-artist shtick. There’s strength and power in a collective endeavor and, really, unless you’re talking about David Bowie or Captain Beefheart, most people just like a band better. Long story short: Tim Cohen’s Magic Trick ultimately morphed into Magic Trick.
The creative process hasn’t changed all that much, though. Magic Trick still supplies the essential Tim Cohen experience, untarnished by re-writes, re-mixes, or too many second thoughts. The songs on Ruler of the Night, the group’s second proper effort and first for Hardly Art, were birthed on a nylon string guitar during stoop-side noodle sessions, augmented by whichever band mates were within hollering distance, and put to tape before the inspiration had a chance to fade. They’re quiet, introspective and prone to unexpected musical tangents. Nashville hooks and cheapo synthesizer leads make peace with one another. At least one chorus gets hooted, rather than sung.