Magazine Gap
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Magazine Gap

London, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

London, United Kingdom | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Rock Pop




"A genre-busting sound that works beautifully"

Coming from different points on the musical compass, Magazine Gap combine folk-rock, hip-hop, jazz, funk and rock into their own genre-busting sound that's given free rein on their album. Thanks to the collective musicianship of all concerned, and the distinctive vocals of James Keen, it works beautifully. - R2 (Rock'n'Reel)

"A sound from the world stage. A very tight performance by all the musicians, I get chills listening to the songs and James’ unique, angelic, yet edgy voice. I can’t wait to see them live again."

I knew I was going to be taken on a journey and it became clear I was listening to a sound from the world stage. Give me real sounding band productions anytime! A very tight performance by all the musicians, I get chills listening to the songs and James’ unique, angelic, yet edgy voice. The title track has a fast shuffle drum beat that I really enjoyed from drummer Brian McCook, Tim Gyton’s bass playing is funky and solid and I really enjoyed Alex Ho’s jazz piano stylings. 'Couldn’t Make It Up (If You Tried)' is in my opinion the big hit song of this album. It opens with such a cool and catchy verse, has a great chorus and the whole song just had me riveted. I have to say I love everything about it; I love the melodic rap (James is a very versatile singer), the horn section, and the message. I’m very impressed with the production stylings and performances by the entire band and I can’t wait to see them live again. Hats off to Magazine Gap! - Songsalive!

"So unpredictable with so many influences. Pleasurable listening experience. 9/10"

What I like so much about 'Light & Shade' is that it's just so unpredictable simply because there are so many influences on here. Not only do you get a wicked disc full of great tunes I have to give the packaging the thumbs up! A pleasurable listening experience, this album should be on your 'To Buy' list. 9/10 - Street Voice UK

"A terrific album that could be a very big hit in the pop world"

This is a terrific album that could be a very big hit in the pop world. James has a wonderful soaring alto voice very much in the style of Mick Hucknall. Title track 'Light & Shade' is a funky jazz tune that has all the right moves with piano and drums accompanying some fine vocals. 'Couldn’t Make It Up (If You Tried)' again has a jazz sound with full pop sensibilities and would be a hit on some of the big pop radio stations. 'Slipstream' is a fine ballad with some wonderful acoustic guitar and piano supported by a rhythm foundation of bass guitar and drums. Stand-out track 'The Promised Land' is a superbly flowing tune, with soaring vocals and great bass guitar line and super lead guitar that builds powerfully. The outcome is this tremendous pop album that errs on the eclectic. - Maverick Magazine

"A first class act. If you get the opportunity to see them live – do it!"

Not only have Magazine Gap burst onto the music scene with great music, they've also managed to create a fresh and unfamiliar sound. There's no limit to their knowledge of musical genres and the band deserves credit for nourishing their quirky style. Lyrically insightful, thought-provoking and honest. Keen’s superb control over his singing voice adds a skilled element to his story-telling capabilities. There are so many famous bands nowadays who can't sing and perform live as they sound on their albums. Magazine Gap are an exception. A first class act. If you get the opportunity to see them live – do it! Meanwhile get hold of their album and fall in love with their unpredictable music style! - Maybe Magazine

"Fused an amazing collection of various styles into a sound that is sure to amaze even seasoned musicians and producers"

An amazing collection of various styles, "Light & Shade" is a testament to an unconventional style that simply works. They have fused jazz, pop/rock, hip-hop and country into a sound that is sure to amaze even seasoned musicians and producers. All the elements necessary to create a monster came together to bring forth an album with soul, style and originality. The sound is not overpowering but instead soothing. The pop/rock style is truly unique and with an array of different musical components it is not hard to get lost in any song. If you want to hear something different pick up "Light & Shade". - Sonic Shocks

"A skilful, refined band at the top of their A-Game"

Beautiful musicianship, intricate rhythms - meticulously layered, carefully crafted songs from a group of musicians who know their mark, and how to hit it each and every time. Through the myriad of colours and tones, the recurring and dominating sound is that of a pop-rock nature. The dynamic control displayed confirms a band in full masterful command of their music. Thoughtful musical arrangements in full bloom; every sonic space filled out, in a measured, methodical manner, by the virtuoso players. The spearhead of this swirl of lush musicianship is the vocals of James Keen: a cultured, consummate voice that sounds instantly familiar yet distinctive enough to stand on its own. A sentiment which sums up the entire band, in fact. "Light & Shade" showcases a skilful, refined band at the top of their A-Game and captured in crystal high-fidelity clarity through the deft, sharp production. The finished article is simply something to sit back and admire whatever your musical tastes. - Overplay

"Sophisticated pop and a call to all lovers of class"

Magazine Gap make sophisticated pop and the release of debut album "Light & Shade" is a call to all lovers of class. Their transatlantic sound can be heard clearly through their songs, with the tones of James Blunt and the soul of Simply Red. - VoluME Magazine (BBC Norfolk)

"A fresh & unfamiliar sound, fall in love with their unpredictable music style"

Not only have Magazine Gap burst onto the music scene with some great music, they’ve also managed to create a fresh and unfamiliar sound. Lyrically insightful, thought-provoking and honest. Keen’s superb control over his singing voice adds a skilled element to his story-telling capabilities. It’s very clear how talented the band is when watching them perform live. They manage to hold the attention of the audience throughout. There are so many famous bands nowadays who can’t sing and perform live as they sound on their albums. Magazine Gap are an exception; they’re a first-class polished act. If you get the opportunity to see them live – do it!" - Maybe Magazine

"Musical genius, with a "jam like" quality about their set that makes them stand out from other bands"

Musical genius. Magazine Gap are a very polished act recorded, with good production and arrangements abound. Some artists fail miserably to take this "polished" sound out of the studio and re-create to a live audience. Not Magazine Gap. They are even better live ... period. There is a well rehearsed, yet "jam like" quality about their set that makes them stand out from other bands. A contradiction in terms I know, you have to see it to believe it. Every song showed off the musical ability of the band to its fullest. - Wohomusic

"An unusual album; lyrically strong while the vocals holds all the various elements together and fuse into a distinct sound"

“An eclectic sound that makes for an unusual album. There are folk-rock tracks shot through with jazz influences, and vice versa. The album is lyrically strong while the vocals of singer-songwriter James Keen hold all the various elements together and fuse them into a distinct sound.” - Bristol Evening Post

"Strong musicianship, creative sounds and ideas, and a wonderful mix of styles and instruments"

Eclectic it is with spices of blues, jazz and funk to be found and tasted throughout its substance. ‘The Promised Land’ immediately shows creativity in songwriting and musicianship and the ability to move through genres, influences and make it something that is distinctly Magazine Gap. Here, throughout, and strikingly on the terrific ‘What’s Next’ and ‘It’s All Good’ the throbbing funk bass-lines of Tim Gyton fuel a throbbing groove that is hard to resist while the delightful piano ingenuity of classically trained Alex Ho brings a sophistication to compliment the guitars of the two Keens, lifting the songs to a higher level with his skill and ability to elevate simple sounds to an emotional level. The other standout elements to the album are the wonderful string and especially brass sounds, the parts well written and a major positive bringing a warm fullness to the songs. Drummer Brian McCook produces the album with a talent and ability to combine and balance the different styles, tones and sounds into something that works well and is distinctly Magazine Gap, as well as helping to bring James Keen’s well crafted and insightful lyrics out from the mix. All great stuff it is as ‘Light & Shade’ contains strong musicianship, creative sounds and ideas, and a wonderful mix of styles and instruments. - Red Hot Velvet

"Really good album with truly eclectic air"

This is a really good album with a truly eclectic air about it. It has a folk rock side to it with a wonderful heavy leaning to jazz rock too. Sounds crazy doesn't it but that's exactly what this album is. Some fine musicianship is fronted by the singer-songwriter James Keen. Diversity is the key here. - Classic Rock Society Magazine

"The combination somehow works - 4 stars"

There's folk/rock/pop mixed with R&B/blues/soul with occasional Latin rhythms and jazz piano. The combination somehow works and James Keen's voice stands out. Interesting stuff. **** - Sunday Mail (Scotland)

"A record brimming with quality musicianship, this album sounds fantastic"

"An album of such high production values, this album sounds fantastic. Their song-writing ability and multi-layered structures have clearly had a lot of time and effort put into them. One of my personal favourites is the epic 'Swansong' that somehow manages to combine the James Blunt-esq style vocal sound with that of Tracy Chapman to produce a stunning world class ballad - a really beautiful song. Another highlight is the softly sung 'Slipstream' with its understated melodies and arrangements that bring to mind the classic Extreme track 'More Than Words'. Overall it’s a record brimming with quality musicianship throughout and could even be suggested to fill the void that’s been left by the demise of Simply Red." - BuzzJack

"Magnetic originality and creativeness, this fabulous group will mesmerize you"

"The fabulous group, Magazine Gap, and their debut album, "Light & Shade," will mesmerize you with their outstanding collection of Pop/Rock music. Magazine Gap has a magnetic originality and creativeness in which they employ easy flowing musical styles within their artistic arrangements. The charismatic vocals have a captivating appeal while they use a colorful mix of instrumentation throughout the album. "It's All Good," has an engaging vibe as the laid back vocals grooves around the punchy bass line and dynamic piano chords. "Something To Be said," is infused with soothing instrumentation that melds with the thought provoking vocals. "Our Last Stand," is another song that has an irresistible melody and vocals that deliver passionate lyrics. If you are a fan of the Dave Matthews Band, then you will really enjoy the superb CD." - RadioIndy

"Sparkling example of contemporary music... bloody brilliant!"

"A sparkling example of contemporary music, No Coincidence isn't just a good album - it's bloody brilliant!! With music that crosses and blurs musical genre, James Keen offers something for everyone. Superb songs, stunning musicianship and a beautifully rounded and well proportioned voice that can adapt to any rhythmic and/or genre nuance you could imagine. Comparisons are difficult but I can hear James Taylor and Tim Buckley in his delivery; a massively impressive voice and quite clearly a lyricist and composer of the highest order. This is an album I'll be listening to for ages and I don't see myself ever getting tired of it. Stunning in every aspect, it's an absolute gem of an album and fully deserves massive success. 10/10" - Toxic Pete

"Carefully crafted, slickly produced mature pop music... Come in David Gray, your time is up!"

"More polished than a Royal Marine’s favourite boots and more sophisticated than a poodle with a cigarette holder, James Keen has put together an album of carefully crafted, slickly produced mature pop music. A host of highly accomplished musicians have rallied round the London-based singer songwriter on No Coincidence to produce 12 tracks that effortlessly draw on blues, soul, folk, country and rock to breathe life into more than a few canny melodies. It’s just one new idea after another and there’s more variety than the pick ‘n’ mix counter at Woolies. What unites it all, though, is the strength of the melodies. An incredibly well rounded and surprising collection. Genres, who needs them? Come in David Gray, your time is up." - Overplay

"Songwriting is outstanding, with a good mix of tracks"

"No Coincidence is a well produced and performed adult singer-songwriter CD with a good mix of tracks. The variety of themes and styles gives life and energy to the CD. James' songwriting is outstanding, with memorable chord progressions and meaningful lyrics that build to powerful choruses. “Painting a Picture” has a nice rhythmic groove behind James' excellent guitar work and provides lyrics that are expressive and nicely tell a story. “The Dawn” is a wonderful example of the variety that shines in this CD. "Something to be Said" has a country music influence, and provides a beautiful, soft ending to the CD. If you enjoy singer-songwriters such as Tracy Chapman or Jason Mraz, you will enjoy this CD." - RadioIndy

"Plenty of the generically labelled (but certainly not generic-sounding) pop... An all-round winner."

"A good pop record will draw inspiration from a plethora of sources, so No Coincidence is built on solid foundations with an entire spectrum of styles and artists supplying the influences. The sound takes on jazzy-pop and country-soul pathways with plenty of the generically labelled (but certainly not generic-sounding) pop. If you are a fan of any of these influences, you'll certainly enjoy James Keen.
An all-round winner." - The Mag

"A truly eclectic sound, the album sounds fresh with each listen... A great and varied debut."

"An incredibly slick and well-packaged album, with all the professionalism of a fully-signed artist, No Coincidence is a complete melting pot of James’s influences. The myriad of musicians on this record leads to a truly eclectic sound, helping to keep the album sound fresh with each listen. The highlight is the simple but highly infectious “Nevertheless” which will be stuck in my head for days to come. Overall, a great and varied debut."

"A classy piece of work... very pleasing"

“An accomplished singer/songwriter, James Keen's album No Coincidence is a classy piece of work with 12 strong tracks and a very full and accomplished musical backdrop. Most of them have a funky / bluesy feel, with intriguing, and not obvious, lyrics. James has a good, strong voice with a pleasing tremolo which strongly reminds me of a cross between Tracy Chapman and Chris Issacs.
All in all, a very pleasing listen.” - Music Maker Magazine

"Wow. These guys are going to be big."

"And finally, the last act of the night, Magazine Gap. They had flown all the way from London, U.K just for the night. Wow. What a voice. What a groove. What songs. They are the next artist to watch.
People were coming up to me and saying, literally, "I feel Iike I’ve just seen the next Sting". Another person said to me “I feel like I’m witnessing the launch of the Beatles”. Another said to me "I feel so privileged to be seeing the rise of a new Dave Matthews band". I mean, these guys are going to be big. People who were tired and were going to leave after the first song, sat with their jaws dropped until their very last song and note. No one wanted to leave." - Gilli Moon, Songsalive!


It's All Good EP (2012)

Silver Lining EP (2011)



Magazine Gap are a British rock band from London and on a particular mission: to prove that an unusual combination of their dissimilar influences can have broad appeal. The band is made up of three individuals who come from very different backgrounds and points on the musical compass but joined together with a shared desire to experiment blending a range of genres to create a distinctive sound.   

It remains an evolving process as the band’s restless creativity has led them to writing and recording a range of songs, all with a consistent musical thread that is clearly Magazine Gap.  They have gained critical acclaim for rich music, smart lyrics, precise production, powerful live shows, strong vocals and impeccable musicianship.

Given the potential reach of the music, the band has already tested the waters with audiences around the world. The band has toured extensively around their home country, including headline performances in 13 major cities around the UK, as well as across to Ireland.  They’ve also criss-crossed the United States with shows from New York City to Los Angeles, and from Chicago to New Orleans.  They subsequently toured the Far East with shows in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.  Perhaps their most acclaimed live performance was on the main outdoor stage at the world famous Montreux Jazz Festival in front of a very discerning audience of 2,000 people.  The band have also connected online with fans on six continents through extensive social media.

To date the band have released one critically acclaimed album: “Light & Shade” – released online as two EPs (“Silver Lining” and “It’s All Good”) – with 12 songs recorded in major studios in London, New York, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Pasadena and Hollywood. They’ve also released their “World Tour EP”, with 6 live recordings from six different cities on three separate continents.  The band are currently working on their follow up album for release in 2016.

Band Members