When The Magic Numbers arrived on the scene with their self-titled debut back in 2005, it was a combination of heartwarming songwriting, touching harmonies and summer-ready hits that made us sit up and listen. There was something a little unique about the pair of siblings that touched a nerve, chilled out and poignant, yet instantly accessible and highly memorable. Five years on, The Runaway never approaches such heights. While The Magic Numbers’ third effort is still heavy on harmonies and gently slurred vocals, the song writing falls so far short of those early moments that large parts of the album are – to be brutally honest – far too dull. Many of the lyrics are buried in the mix, roughly on a par with the pianos and making very little impact on the sound at all, leaving opening tracks -The Pulse’ and -Hurt So Good’ entirely forgettable, a theme that’s only broken with -Why Did You Call?’ and -Only Seventeen’ for the entire duration.
The Magic Numbers have always been edging into classical territory, and this album does that still more, with plenty of sweeping, elegant undertones throughout. Lyrically, though, repetition is rife, and there’s little here that will seem in anyway unique or inspiring. If we had to pick a niche for the album, TV soundtrack or hotel lobby backing music is along the right lines. The above two – -Why Did You Call?’ and -Only Seventeen’ are the only tracks, frankly, that stand out above chill-out b-sides. For the rest of the album we find ourselves plodding along, searching for anything particularly interesting, and while the odd quirky lyric pops along in -Restless River’, -The Runaway is a bit of a chore to listen to in full. -Why Did You Call?’ and the slight eighties vibe surrounding -A Start With No Ending’ add the merest splattering of the magic of ‘Forever Lost’, but all in The Runaway is bordering on sleep-inducing. On this evidence, the glory days are long, long gone.