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The Bristol Suspensions

University of Bristol

Madness/Magic - Single (2016)

3.0

September 8, 2016

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The Bristol Suspensions from the UK give us a mashup of Muse’s Madness and Coldplay’s Magic with their single. Unfortunately, as the work progresses, it turns into more of a collision than an elegant pairing.

The group sounds a bit thin and shaky until Madness drops like a sweet, hot potato. It’s thick and commanding and awesome, fronted by a charming and uniquely-voiced male lead who slices right through the music with emotion and vulnerability. I would very much prefer to stay in the group's rendition of Madness. But, this is a mashup, so it'll incorporate plenty of Magic, too. The fundamental problem here is that this release doesn’t really sound like two songs — nor does it have particularly slick transitions or awesomely crafted interweaving to make it sound like a cool, original new song. Rather, it steadily piles on more motifs from both sources until it’s just a noisy cacophony that sounds like way too many songs. I actually find it more compelling to watch the group’s YouTube video, because at least the listener can visually track the voice parts and changes from time to time. Otherwise, it’s just too much of everything as the backgrounds continually grow busier. We know where we are again when the song reaches the climax, the iconic and pleading, “I need to love!” in Madness, which should ideally leave us with chills. Here, the intonation is quite wobbly and the balance is off, leaving the listener dissatisfied instead. 

As the mashup calms down to wrap up, we hear musicality and nuance in the quieter delivery. It’s pleasant, and you can hear many strong voices in this group. Unfortunately, this particular arrangement just isn’t the best representation of what The Bristol Suspensions can offer us.

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