Right Formula for Magazine success

Magazine'credit Graeme Oxby
Magazine'credit Graeme Oxby

SINCE their reformation in 2009, Magazine have never looked back.

Formed by former Buzzcock Howard Devoto, Magazine were, during the late seventies and early eighties, one of post punk’s leading acts. And in 2009, after almost a three-decade hiatus, the band bounced back, with a string of live dates followed by a string of glowing reviews. Keyboardist Dave Formula couldn’t quite believe Magazine’s luck after that second coming two years ago.

“We never expected the response we got from the audience and critics so we thought ‘what next?’ and looked into carrying on.

“We wrote a couple of new songs and once we started we came out with so much music.”

Magazine have, for a second time in their career, broken the creative seal. And the result of this blast of songwriting is the latest album, No Thyself, a dark-sounding collection of tracks that ponder existentialism, fame and music. “There’s always darkness, that’s Howard’s vision,” says Formula.

“The album’s about mortality and what happens at a certain point in life. There is humour in there too, albeit a dark humour.”

One of the tracks, Hello Mister Curtis (With Apologies), is about the demise of Ian Curtis and Kurt Cobain. “Howard wrote the lyrics but my take on it is that Kurt Cobain is the American equivalent of Ian Curtis.” It’s at once upbeat and dark, with spiky guitar parts and gloomy lyrics.

“We stay pretty close to the album versions of the tracks when we play live but the improvised parts will be a challenge,” says Formula. Are the band ready for their second renaissance? “We better be,” says Formula, “though we haven’t played at the Plug since 1979, so that will be interesting.”

Magazine play at Plug on Wednesday.