Reviews on
MAGIC PIE "Motions of desire"

"One of the most worthwhile purchases I've come across in a long time, I can wholeheartedly recommend "Motions of Desire" - the same goes with regards to seeing this band live in concert!"
RATING: 9 out of 10

"All in all, some very, very nice musicianship and catchy melodies are displayed throughout this CD and while there's really nothing too mind-bogglingly intricate here, my hat IS off to guitarist Kim Stenberg, who's guitar playing is mightily shred-worthy without being *over the top*. I also very much preferred the triple lead vocal attack from Hanssen, Olsen, & Marshall. And SURPRISE!!! These guys can actually SING! Hallelujah!!

I recognized scattered nods to Deep Purple throughout this disc and I really can't put my finger on it, but I found "Motions of Desire" to have the same overall *vibe* as Gillian/Glover's "Accidentally On Purpose," without actually sounding anything like it!

DP references aside, this release has plenty of proggly-woggly twists, turns, and pyrotechnics to keep most Prog *Rockers* bobbing their heads and happily humming its melodies hours after the last song has spun out.

So, in the immortal words of Twin Peaks' Agent Dale Cooper as heard many times at the Double-R diner, "NOW THAT'S SOME DAMN FINE PIE!"

" This Norwegian group of prog hardware has really a lot to like: an impeccable technique, songs with rhythmic compositions full with ideas and strong melodies, energy and punch."

"I have to admit that I'm starting to believe that the centre of progressive rock in the world is nowadays located in Scandinavia as so many great new progressive bands emerge from there. Scandinavian musicians must have some progressive blood flowing through their veins, I can't explain it otherwise. This time it's Norway that treats the World with a great new progressive rock band called Magic Pie.

The general sound of Motions Of Desire can't be called totally new and unique because the influences of Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings, Deep Purple, to mention the most prominent ones, can be heard. So the starting point of Magic Pie's music is pretty obvious. But the bands they were influenced by can certainly be called good role models, so if executed properly and with a good touch of originality such a concept could result in a good production of its own and that's exactly what happened with this album.

The quality level is constantly high, no obligatory ballad or lack of variation the whole album through. Magic Pie have truly managed to deliver a brilliant debut album and I just kept my score a bit low to keep room to grade their future albums even higher!"
Conclusion: 8.5 out of 10

"Magic Pie are the cream of the crop. They have the ability to create soundscapes and vistas that hark back to the best of Yes (Fragile, CTTE, Relayer) with shades of Camel, and have a bright, enthusiastic approach to their production which really lifts your heart. It's the joyous nature of the sound that really attracts me these guys are enjoying themselves hugely, and aren't going down the angst-ridden route so many of the neo-prog groups follow.

I'm only giving this four stars since I've only listened to the album about 10 times, and it is their debut. But let's hope it's the first of many - already they're better than the Flower Kings, and way ahead of most of the other young pretenders... "

"Highly recommended!"
Rating: 5 out of 6

"Although from Norway this isn't your atypical Norwegian band, for this six piece play consummate prog rock and I'd go as far as to say this is one of the prog rock highlights of 2005 and when you think of the great albums released in that genre this year you may begin to be curious as to just how good Magic Pie are. For an answer look no further than the opening track Change which clocks in at just over twenty minutes, yet keeps you riveted to it's complex but easily accessible musical voyage, and when I tell you that this epic track is only the tip of the iceberg where this band is concerned, then I think your interest will be even more piqued. Title song Motions Of Desire follows and is easily the best song Spocks Beard (crossed with Dream Theater) have never written, Full Circle Poetry is next and it is another stunning song, very Floyd at the start but with the classy vocals of Eirik Hanssen punching through, the track takes on a whole life of it's own, Without Knowing Why is seventies prog through and through yet still has an up to date sound at it's heart, but the band really show their chops on the three part Illusions & Reality, track's that have everything from soft meandering prog to full in the face almost Threshold like progmetal but guess what it really works, especially on I & R - Final Breath (brilliant song).

Closing cut Dream Vision is a keyboard lovers fest with wonderful dark moody guitars backing the song courtesy of Kim Stenberg who is wonderful throughout this album, as are the other musicians. I have been lucky this year to get to listen to some really amazing music and bands and I can tell you now that this band Magic Pie easily sit alongside any of those other acts, for prog lovers and really just for lovers of superb rock music."
Rating: 90/100

"This album is full of atmospheres taken from 70's. It consists of long multipart compositions ("Illusion & Reality", Full Circle Poetry" and "Change") and its style and high quality class can be compared only to the best musical achievements of the current top neoprogressive bands like The Flower Kings and Spock's Beard."

"Ah, leave it up to a bunch of Norwegians to come up with the surprise prog hit of 2005. Magic Pie, from Moss, Norway (near Oslo), are a six piece progressive rock band whose new album Motions of Desire is one hard-hitting platter of epic tunes loaded with melodic vocals, crisp & technical guitar work, and outstanding Hammond organ. Combining the accessibility of some of today's modern acts like The Flower Kings, Magellan, and Spock's Beard, with the technical expertise of Dream Theater, and throwing in some references to 70's icons like Deep Purple, Yes, Atomic Rooster, and Uriah Heep, Magic Pie have put together a real winner here.

The opening 20-minute epic "Change" covers every spectrum of progressive rock, from some catchy acoustic moments, to searing prog-metal, to flat out symphonic rock littered with Hammond and guitar interplay. It's really hard to say just who is the star of the show here, as the whole band just shines on every song. Guitarist Kim Stenberg is a monster player, both on electric & acoustic, and the man can shred when he wants to, or lay down a gorgeous melodic passage, plus he can churn out some mean rhythms and riffs as well. Keyboard ace Gilbert Marshall plays a mean Hammond organ as well as various synths, and the rhythm tandem of bassist Lars Petter Holstad and drummer Jan T. Johannessen lock into some incredibly tight and intricate grooves. Vocally, Magic Pie are quite strong as well, and in fact they have three singers, Eirik Hanssen, Allan Olsen, as well as Marshall. Style wise, and it's not noted in the booklet who sings what, one of them sounds like Trent Gardner from Magellan, and you also hear some Roine Stolt and Nick D'Virgilio influences at times as well. There's plenty of harmonies, which gives the vocals a real strong quality as to not get drowned out by the intense musical fireworks going on around them.

Magic Pie certainly flexed their creative muscles on Motions of Desire. Sure, it's a heavy slice of progressive rock, but there are plenty of gentle nuances to be found here as well. Not quite prog-metal, not quite neo-prog, but a happy medium certainly as well as those wonderful 70's influences. Highly recommended!"
Score: 4,5 stars (of 5)

"A while ago I listened to a sample off Magie Pie's web site and honestly, I was mildly impressed. Not sure what tainted my initial impression. When I found out they'd be in the line-up for ROSfest 2006, I had to check them out again. That and the fact many people were giving them a lot of high praise. The second time must have been the lucky charm. I was completely knocked head over heels when listening to this debut release."
Rating: 4,5 of 5

"On this, their debut album, the music is of highest quality and also impresses with the vast variety of styles. I'm usually rather sceptic towards albums with playing time over 70 minutes, but here time just seems to fly away. Apart from the also still quite new Retroheads CD, has no newcomer inspired me more in such a way like Magic Pie."
Rating: 13/15

"The 20 min opening track Change is perhaps one of the best beginnings I have heard from a neo-progressive group in many years and is a sweeter for the rest of the CD. This track oozes out a montage of progressive sounds from the symphonic echoes of the Flower Kings and Spock's Beard to the heavy prog-rock of 4Front. There are so many changes in the tempo in styles you could be forgiven for thinking this was the only part of the album to listen to. The two lead vocals (Eirik Hanssen
and Allan Olsen) are extraordinarily good and harmonious throughout and an added bonus for those who feel this side of progressive music is often compromised by weak and feeble singers. The charm of Magic Pie is that Gilbert Marshall uses some real classic Hammond organ from the 70's to good effect with more 90's style synthesisers to blend the hard edged guitar playing of Kim Stenberg. The title track Motions of Desire has a tantalising Pendragon style and ambient mood pertaining it, and compliments the rather harder rock elements found elsewhere. Full Circle Poetry has an obvious Spock's Beard flavouring on the keyboard and riff changes with the melodious vocals. Whereas, Illusions & Reality is in three parts and begins with an accent on flute but steadily moves up the tempo surreptitiously towards an ELP burnout with hints of Camel at times! The final track Dream Vision ends the album perfectly, with a slow cautious build up and thoughtfully crafted vocals once more tempered by the now familiar keyboard and guitar interplay. Magic Pie will undoubtedly captivate a delve of progressive fans from many ends of the spectrum and rightly so."

"Motions Of Desire" is a 75-minutes digest of talent . This album make me feel almost the same way as at the time I discovered Spock's Beard's "The Light"!
Simply excellent!!! (9/10)"

"The epic of 20 minutes ‘Change’ illustrates perfectly where it’s all about for Magic Pie, you get everything you could expect from a progressive track. The interplay between guitar and keyboards is very characteristic, the vocal harmonies and the numerous tempo changes are making this track an absolute masterpiece and already the first highlight on the cd. But don’t think that the music always stays ‘gentle’, because very often it gets a lot heavier with riffs, that may be compared to Deep Purple and Atomic Rooster.

‘Motions of Desire’ has clearly a Marillion feeling (also vocally), with a catchy keyboard riff, a dreamy guitar solo and beautiful vocals (the two lead singers are very complementary). Just like the first tracks ‘Full Circle Poetry’ starts with ambient sounds, it has some Beatles influences, but it reminds more of earlier Spock’s Beard or other Transatlantics. ‘Without knowing why’ sounds a bit heavier and is a bit different from the first part of the album, although the synthesizers always add that progressive ‘touch’. But just listen to the extraordinary guitar solos of Stenberg, he may easily be compared with the other Scandinavian guitar masters.

Illusions&Reality Part 1 starts a bit folky (flute) and very gentle, but it continues into ‘heavy progressive rock’, especially Part 3 (where is Part 2?) is more into progressive metal (with a touch of Dream Theater). ‘Dream Vision’ ends the album right where it started, unequalled musical diversification, complex but yet accessible.

This album will certainly be in many lists at the end of this year, seldom you will hear such an amazing debut album. Buy this stuff!!" RATING: 9,5 / 10

"Believe me, I couldn't find any weak tracks among the eight featured here, but I give my preference to the long lasting opener "Change" where you can find the actual musical dna of the band: symphonic art-prog and several touches of hard rock and blues. I'm sure I'll put "Motions Of Desire" among my top ten albums of this year, so my recommendation is totally unnecessary."

"What we hear on their debut album "Motions Of Desire" is very good. Magic Pie sometimes tastes like The Flower Kings or Yes. But I also could taste ingredients of Spock's Beard, The Little River Band, Deep Purple or The Beatles. "Motions Of Desire" contains 8 strong tracks and was originally released by the band themselves. I had a chance to hear one of those copies and realized that they deserved a bigger audience. But thank God I was not the only person who found their music worth listening. The Swedish label Progress Records also got notice of this talented band and remastered the original CD and included a booklet which contains all the lyrics and band pictures. It certainly sounds a lot better and hopefully their next album will be recorded in a real professional studio with a larger budget. This way the music even more comes alive and gets this Magic Pie an even better taste. So far they are certainly one of this years real surprises."
RATING: 4 stars out of 5

"Magic Pie opens the album with the 20+ minutes "Change". The rhythm that sets in after 6.10 minutes is utterly cool, and the band shows us their capacity to build their music in layers. Half a minute later the same rhythm continues, but they add some Deep Purple-ish keyboards that go straight to my belly. My stomach takes a few rolls in pure enjoyment. After 7.45 minutes there is a small la-la-la in the background lasting for merely 5 seconds. I didn't notice until I heard the song my headphones. After 8.45 minutes the song changes once again, and we're thrown into a magical The Flower King reference. Again, utterly cool and I just want to… move somewhere. This is so good that I can't sit still. I smile, I get those magical goose bumps and I want to save the whole world. Amazing. This is an album you must have you like good music, varied music and music with a lot of emotion. I am confident "Motions Of Desire" is an album that will make you happy. RATING: 9 of 10"

"RATING: 8,5 out of 10"

"It is true that "Change" is a masterful piece of prog music, yet along with that song, there is still yet more great music that comes in the following tracks. First let me say that Magic Pie are all excellent musicians, and as a unit, their music is sincere, original and truly enjoyable to sit and listen to. If any modern band comes close to what Magic Pie is doing, it would be Sweden's Flower Kings, in that they are truly paying homage to the greats of yesteryear, while adding some modern day nuances and swerve and swagger to their all-original musical exploits.

If the comparison to the Flower Kings gives you and indication whether you would like them or not, you seriously owe it to yourself to go to the bands website and hear the mp3's yourself. They are not cloning anyone, but have some similarities, but in many ways, they may have an even more original, less derivative feel than that of the Flower Kings, and without question a better guitarist in - Kim Stenberg, who plays some of the most inventive guitar I have heard in a true progressive rock band in a good long time. His style and talent level are a big reason that Magic Pie can pull of such an array of musical challenges. They also list two lead vocalists, and a great keyboardist in Gilbert Marshall, who also does lead vocals, yet as many vocalists as they have, the music represents the bands' strongest assets.

Granted the vocals are not at all bad, very pleasant in fact, much the way bands like Genesis, Spock's Beard, Flower Kings or Marillion arrange them. Yet I cannot stress enough what they are creating behind the vocals, which is very hard to ignore. This is not showoffish meandering, but very concise and intricate instrumental passages that appear between the more vocal oriented melodic sections. The keys are majestic, very vintage sounding, with a nice array of tones and sounds. Bass and drums also are right on cue, very seldom will you hear a band release their first cd and have such an impacting sound."

"Magic Pie place themselves musically in the same traditions Flower Kings, Dream Theater, Transatlantic and Spock's Beard, so anyone who enjoys these bands should take a closer look at this album"

"Take one talented and visionary guitarist, two soulful vocalists, one saucerful of rock solid drum and bass relationships, one dash of Hammond organs and mellow synths, and stir it all gently, while adding in the very essence of 1970's Progressive Rock. Leave it all to settle in for a while before baking in the heat of time until done. Voila! You have yourself a Magic Pie!

Motions Of Desire opens with "Change," a 20-minute epic travel through a number of stylistic inspirations, but with a unique taste to it, introducing a band fresh out of the mold with a potential to redefine Progressive Rock as a genre. It's a solid and quite filling starter, but it leaves room for so much more, and what's better than to taste the following "Motions Of Desire?" It's a song you just wish would never end, loaded with positivism, marvelling vocal harmonies, uplifting bass work and an all over sound so refreshing it makes a cold shower on a hot day feel like a sauna ... and the final fade out is nothing but one outstanding example on how to fade out!

"Without Knowing Why" offers a different mood all together, and becomes the album's angriest composition. The funky groove is familiar, but the vocal arrangements make waves bound to wash up on your doorstep. Dominating the song, however, is the raging solo battle between guitar and keyboards. Listen carefully to the reach-out-and-touch vitality of the calmer 7/8 figure part of this battle, where Jan Torkild Johannessen truly plays his drums: it's beautiful, just beautiful.

Closing Motions Of Desire is "Dream Visions," yet another positive and uplifting piece, but perhaps with a darker tone. When the vocals appear after a near 5-minute intro, they are for the first time on this album monotonous and almost spooky. Nevertheless, the song represents another climax in all its complexity, diversity, and flawless sound and production.

Still, what makes Magic Pie and "Motions Of Desire" so special is the feeling it presents. Even if this is very much a product of Kim Stenberg, the album reflects a band, more than anything, and a feeling of vital, uplifting positivism unmatched by any other band within the genre. It's nothing short of a spiritual boost and a celebration of the joy of music. Even then, after all this is written it is still nothing but a pitiful excuse of a description of a truly astonishing album. It is hard to find words fit to serve this album right, so why don't you just go out and buy it! Bon apetit!"

"Points: 9/10"

"This Norwegian group, which until recently was unknowned to me, has released one of this years perhaps strongest albums. They might be described as Norway's reply toThe Flower Kings, but then i recommend TFK to catch up, otherwise the picture might soon be reversed. The music has a wide spectre ranging over 70's progressiva rock to todays contemporary acts. Not only the instrumental pieces are pleasing also the three vocalists contributes with rich variation. A very good debut from a skillful six man band, which I do recommend."

"RATING: 5 guitars of 5"

"Motions Of Desire is really great work from Magic Pie and of bands coming from Norway in this genre, this band is absolutely brilliant and stands forward as one the best! Their music is a blend of Progressive Rock, Hard Rock and Melodic Rock, with influences from the 70`s and from the today`s progressive rock scene. The album contains 8 songs and has a playing time of almost 75 minutes. After listening a few weeks to the debut, I will say that Magic Pie, with their instrumentation and songs, impress me much and they belong in the elite of bands in this genre together with Flower Kings, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Marillion and Ricocher. The album is packed with great songs with lots of different styles and opens with the twenty minute long Change. A song with the roots deep planted in the 70`s Progressive Rock; Cool vocals, nice melody lines in the verses and a great chorus. The song lasts for twenty minutes, but it feels like five. Great work!"
"Motions of desire will stay in my CD player for a long time. Recommended!!!"


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