· In addition to full-lengths and EPs for several labels Piano Magic scored director Bigas Lunas 2001 film Son de Mer.
It seems the awkward beauty of Piano Magic's early recording was arrived at more by accident than design. As Glen Johnson's songwriting has grown more fluent it has become less original, so Disaffected has finally captured the sound he was always after. Its a bucolic version of Joy Division less intense in mood and more varied in texture, with acoustic, electric and electronic passages, as well as three different vocalists (Johnson himself, Angele David-Guillou from Klima, and John Grant from the Czars).
This is a far more consistent album than last year's Troubled Sleep and contains a good proportion of memorable songs. None of the intervening tracks are actually bad, but there is a lot more cold-wave posturing needed and not much subtlety to the arrangements.
Nonetheless, within the context of contemporary U.K. indie pop, Disaffected has the virtue of being less flagrant and self-satisfied in its nostalgia than the rest, and there is always hope that next time Johnson will reassess his past achievements and find a balance between his early experimental impulses and the later well-crafted but predictable songwriting.