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The Magic Numbers
With their self-titled debut, The Magic Numbers have notched up a fair list of achievements - a loyal fan base (including famous names such as Noel Gallagher, Nick Hornby and The Chemical Brothers), critical praise, and an extremely prestigious and terribly tough-to-get Mercury Prize nomination. Keep an ear out for their delightful single Forever Lost playing regularly on radio and TV. The Record profiles the quartet.

With this new band, you won't find any room for a relationship-centric debate like The White Stripes' Jack and Meg White delighted in stirring. It's clear from the start the quartet is made up of two sets of siblings - the Stodarts (originally from Trinidad, then New York and finally England) and the Gannons (from England).

Prime songwriting duties lie with Romeo Stodart who is also lead singer of the band. The young musician comes from a strong musical background. He grew up with sister Michele in Trinidad where their mum appeared on TV singing an impressive variety of tunes ranging from soaring opera to soulful Burt Bacharach.

The radio was always on and the young Stodarts grew up on a steady diet of local music, country and soul, all of which are reflected in the songs they sing today. Romeo clearly remembers playing his Grandmother's piano, "She had arthritis and she'd tell me to get on the piano and hit anything. I'd make up little tunes and she'd really like them. I remember it very clearly, the pleasure in working out little sequences of notes."

While Romeo enjoyed home-grown folk music and the calypso that was to be heard everywhere in the Caribbean, he often yearned for something outside of that sound and explored other genres and other artists whenever he could. When he was sixteen years old, he got the perfect opportunity to grow musically. The family was moving to cultural hot-pot New York. Both Romeo and Michele have stated that it was not just the music in New York but the absolutely crackling, positive energy that they felt around them which influenced their outlook on life and music.

After living in America for a few years, the family moved again and finally settled down in Hanwell, England where the first friends that the Stodart siblings made were Sean and Angela Gannon. Romeo and Sean quickly found they had a lot in common, not just as friends, but as fellow musicians. The duo began playing with several local bands and Romeo saw his songwriting flourish, finding direction and growing into a mesmerising, dreamy sound. Michele and Angela were soon roped in to be part of the band, and The Magic Numbers was formed.

The buzz around the band's live performances grew so much, and they enjoyed playing live to such an extent, that they actually forgot to send demos to record labels and shop for a deal. When requests did come up though, the band knew which record companies they would sign to. Independent labels Rough Trade Records and Heavenly Records were their choices because they felt that these companies truly believed in the music that they put out. As luck would have it, in the audience at one of their performances were executives from both, Rough Trade and Heavenly Records.

You can read the rest of our feature on The Magic Numbers in the September 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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