“A striking aural experience whose retro sheen and gorgeous heartache will stay with you.” – PopMatters
“An ethereal yet raw quality” – God Is In The TV
“Euphoric, dreamy synthpop…brilliantly unique” – When The Horn Blows
“Music to dream by, to love by and to lose yourself in” – Blitzed Magazine
Following a string of EPs and singles, synthpop outfit Magnetic Skies are finally set to release their dramatic debut album Empire Falling, out now.
Initially setting out as a duo in 2019, Magnetic Skies was born as a studio-based project created by lead vocalist and keys player Simon Kent and Jo Womar also on keys,driven by a shared love of 80s synth-driven post-punk. They began building their sound and continually released EPs throughout 2020 – here, the seeds were sown with pulsing, vintage analogue synths and pumping bass to create a signature sound of evocative electronica mixed with darkwave, classic yet delightfully futuristic all at once. Eventually, the band began performing live, which led to guitarist Carlos Aguilar and drummer Lenin Alegria joining the lineup, and this is the group who have created the band’s long awaited full-length release Empire Falling, out 3rd November. Production and mixing on the album were predominantly carried out in-house by Kent, with additional mixing duties performed by Rob Aubrey (sound engineer for Big Big Train/Asia/Tony Levin).
Simon Kent (frontman) – ‘The album is reflective, poetic, and it takes you on a journey lyrically, and in mood from sad nostalgia through to happiness and euphoria. I hope the listener can relate to the sounds and lyrics, find some connection on a personal level – I’d like to move them in an emotional way.
It’s nice to close the opening chapter on the band and capture the songs that evolved as the band came together from a duo to a 4-piece, and while we were learning how to work together.’
Album opener ‘Into Paradise’ sets the tone for the record with a cacophony of synths and its meticulously placed layers, all coming to a head in the chorus with Simon’s soaring vocals. ‘Fading Lights’ is a pacier offering, a relentless journey with pounding beats with lyrics pleading ‘hold me tonight’. With the lyrics themed around addiction, it’s an intense ride as desperation seeps through the cracks.
Previous single ‘Suffocate’ strikes a cataclysmic tone, with more than a hint of inner turmoil and madness following the breakdown of a relationship meant to be endgame. Here is where the lineup’s expansion pays off, with an intriguing drumming pattern played expertly by Lenin Alegria as well as echoing guitars from Carlos Aguilar, who also gets the chance to play some blistering lines on the anxiety-ridden ‘Darker Night’ with his buzzsaw-like guitar effect cutting through. Then there’s the quietly menacing title track ‘Empire Falling’ which eases the foot off the accelerator, allowing some room to breathe. Speaking on the track, Simon says “This one’s about a long-standing friendship that has broken down over a long period of time. This looks back from childhood to adulthood – it was written when Jo (Womar) and I formed the band, and lyrically it represents the period of time in which all the other things referenced in the album happened.’
‘Magnetic Skies’ leans more into the band’s early electronic days, creating an intimate atmosphere paired with the gliding falsetto of the lead vocals. Expressing that wonderful feeling of falling in love, it leads perfectly into a highlight of the album and the band’s first single of 2023, ‘You Shine On’ – an out-and-out love song which is blissfully infectious in its euphoria. Penultimate track ‘Outside’ is a dramatically slow stomper, gradually building into a wall of outstanding harmonies by its outro. Final track ‘Give Me Back That Moment’ is ‘nostalgia for lost people and times and trying to live in the moment and follow your heart’, with hushed vocals, reverbed guitars and a minimal beat, the curtain is brought down on this epic journey.
Following the band’s beginnings, they continued to hone their live craft – the last couple of years have seen Magnetic Skies supporting sell-out shows for Altered Images, Heaven 17, Empathy Test and ACTORS, and releasing more singles in the run up to the release of their debut album. Among these was a collaboration with BBC 6Music favourites The KVB, resulting in more than 1,000 plays on Amazing Radio in the UK & USA. Three songs were also included on the BBC Radio “Fresh On The Net” mixtape playlists. With their 2023 single releases, Magnetic Skies have gained support from Louder Than War, God is In The TV, When The Horn Blows, RGM and Backseat Mafia among many others. The band are also included on two influential compilations of leading electronic artists from around the globe in the Generation Blitz series, “Concrete And Chrome” and “Generation Blitz Extended”.
Magnetic Skies’ debut album Empire Falling is out now.
You Shine On
Not a Fire
Give Me Back That Moment
The Last Time (The KVB Remix)
Into Paradise (Magnetic Mix)
You Shine On (Magnetic Mix)
Darker Night (Magnetic Mix)
CATCH MAGNETIC SKIES LIVE
Sun 24th September – Music In The City Festival, Southampton
Sat 30th September – The Railway Inn, Winchester
Sat 14th October – The Loft, Portsmouth
Sun 19th November – The Lexington, London (supporting B-Movie)
Sat 25th November – The Winchester Gate, Salisbury