Magic Sword want to be the whole package. The Idaho-based trio don’t just write and record their own take on sci-fi synthwave; they’ve conceived a whole new fantasy world which plays host to a classic tale of good versus evil and coined their instrumental jams as the soundtrack.
They create stage shows to make every tour unique, always performing behind masks and mysterious monikers, and have even produced a graphic novel to expand their story further.
It’s admirable effort, no doubt, but Magic Sword might be taking on too much. For better and, slightly too often, for worse, Endless does feel like the soundtrack to something. Except here, that means while moments like the icy, tech-noir chill of “Aftermath” and ominous ripples of “Shores of Oblivion” paint vivid pictures, other tracks struggle to elevate past background sound.
It’s a problem that Magic Sword encountered on their debut, and while there is some audible progression, one they apparently haven’t solved yet.
The slightly soulful touch to “Prophecy” is neat, but where the song initially feels like it should accompany a montage of a long journey in the middle of a great quest, it never really goes anywhere, and “Hope” is Daft Punk dried out. It’s not completely elevator music; there’s an art to Endless, but it’s unlikely to inspire great passion or even repeat plays.
Contrary to its title, this record is the end. Or at least, one ending. This is a third and closing chapter in the band’s first story, so they say. If they script a sequel or side quest, it will be interesting to hear if they mine a similar, sonic seam for its soundtrack or strike out for something new, something more.
Because while much of the Magic Sword story so far makes sense as it plays out, it’s not destined to stick long in the memory after the end credits.