MAGIC DIRT Announce vinyl reissue of Friends In Danger (1996)

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MAGIC DIRT Announce vinyl reissue of Friends In Danger (1996)
Photo credit: Andy Mac
Praise for Friends In Danger

“…a visionary blast of noise, attitude and great songs… Recorded and mixed in only ten days in Sydney with producer Paul McKercher, it captures the raw power of this awesome live band in a manner that their previous recordings missed, while refusing to be straitjacketed. From the fuzz and feedback blizzards of ‘Befriended Fallen Angel’, ‘I Was Cruel’ and the title track, the album also winds through the subtle, eerie strains of ‘Dylan’s Lullaby’, the Eno-esque nightmare ‘Fear’ and the warped, but winning, ‘Shovel’. Meanwhile, ‘Sparrow’ is almost the (hit) single the band could have if they’d just relax…” – John O’Donnell, Juice (1996)

“…this is as good and as purely cathartic as art-damaged, noise-mongering, amp-frying rawk gets…” – Matt Ashare, The Boston Phoenix (1996)

“…there’s plenty of torn and fractured beauty, an excellent understanding of light and shade, and passages of almost frightening intensity – sometimes whispered, sometimes screamed…” – Tracks (1996)

“…don’t listen to this album by yourself with the lights out…” – Barry Divola, Who Magazine (1996)

“…the Dirt…simply go for the heart – and then have your jugular for dessert…” – David Fricke, Rolling Stone US (1997)

Today Magic Dirt announce the reissue of their acclaimed 1996 debut album Friends In Danger, out Friday 9th July via Emergency Music / Remote Control Records

In early 1995, with the success of the Life Was Better EP creating a massive industry buzz around the band, Magic Dirt began writing their highly anticipated debut album, Friends In Danger. In addition, after much international record label attention, the band finally inked a deal with Warner Bros U.S. But amid the dazzling momentum, the band were also faced with picking up the pieces after the departure of lead guitarist, Daniel HerringDave Thomas (Bored!), godfather of Geelong punk rock, who had managed the band in the early days, was then recruited. With their swag of newly sketched out songs, the band set up camp at Megaphon Studios in Sydney, with renowned producer Paul McKercher (The Cruel SeaYou Am I) to record to warm, analogue tape. The band were keen to keep experimenting with sonic textures and to also, for the first time, capture their live sound with minimal overdubbing. As rock journalist, Ian McFarlane noted, “…the album matched the band’s fearless experimentation with a dark, unhinged sound that went from moments of eerie near-silence to full-tilt guitar noise…” (Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop, 1999). Dave Thomas also brought his own firebrand style of guitar playing, as Adalita remembers, “…Dave…got a lot of really weird pedals, like…a Golden Throat which Peter Frampton used…that helped us create a darker, weirder feeling on the album.” (David Trethewie, Forte Magazine, 1996)

Released in September 1996 and peaking at number 25 on the ARIA Charts, Magic Dirt‘s debut album, Friends In Danger, ushered in a heavier and darker edge to the band which also polarised some press and fans alike due to the band’s previous chart topping more melodic offering with Life Was Better. Says Adalita at the time, “…It’s not like we set out to be different…we were always just doing it our own way”. Adds Dean“When we started we were just doing what we thought was fun, rather than doing what you do to be successful. And I just thought that was how every band did it.” (John O’Donnell, Juice Magazine, 1996)

Nonetheless, Friends In Danger garnered the band a new hardcore cult following with industry heavyweights like David Fricke, senior editor of Rolling Stone US, rating the album in his Top 100 records of 1997 and saying, “…howzabout the ragged-feedback glory and souped up riff theater of this mighty Australian foursome?” (Rolling Stone US, 1997). Blunt Magazine gave it a rave in their 50 Greatest Australian Albums edition describing it as “…a moody and powerful collection of tunes…that act as battlefields upon which melody and feedback clash in splendiferous fights to the death.” Daniel Johns of Silverchair rated it as best album of 1997 in Alternative Press and promptly invited the band as main support on their national Summer Freak show tour that same year.

Magic Dirt would like to dedicate the Friends In Danger reissue to Dave Thomas, who sadly passed away in March 2020. His legacy will live on and Magic Dirt would like to acknowledge his incredible contribution to the Australian music scene and are especially indebted to him for his support and encouragement of the band in their early years.

Pre-order Magic Dirt – Friends In Danger

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