The Magnifiers – For the People


For the People makes itself known that it wants to entertain and make a personal statement from the beginning. It is mightily impressive that this group of teenagers and pre-teens can convey their personalities so effectively through song, but it reaches way past that. Instead, their performances and songwriting wring new changes on punk’s old formulas without getting away from the spirit of the music inspiring them. This doesn’t sound like a novelty trip. They are also fantastically entertaining, capable of inspired humor, and yet the gleeful exuberance of youth vividly comes through as well. For the People’s four songs are a great follow up to the band’s 2014 debut EP, Report Card, and reflects the additional experience they’ve accumulated playing at some of the best rock venues in the Windy City and an assortment of festival slots. This is a band tested by performance, bonded by familial chemistry, and fueled by imagination.

Their musical telepathy comes through in every song. “Mostly Harmless” pokes gentle fun at the reputations of those who play punk rock while still blazing itself on the memory thanks to its wiry guitar lines and hard charging rhythm section. Despite their playful lyrics, the band doesn’t play around musically and gives performances that cut straight to the point. Vocalist and second guitarist Eden Dombrowski keys each of these four songs and shows off her talents for perfectly dovetailing her singing with the arrangement. The band has a great sound, tough-minded in some respects, but also very warm. This is, undoubtedly, thanks to the contributions of producer/engineer Vanessa Silberman, but one senses that she’s also captured the band’s live approach with note-perfect fidelity. The band toughens up their approach on the EP’s second song “TV Hat” and much of its success can be ascribed to the hardest-hitting band effort on the release. Drummer Everett Dombrowski and bassist Eliza Dombrowski, in particular, lay down a monumental groove for the guitars and vocalist to weave magic over the top of. It’s a strong performance and proves they can rock out convincingly with any band working today.

Their performance on the gut-punch quick “Anarchy Sucks” is a great ribbing on punk rock tradition and is delivered with an appealing nudge and a wink. Their maturity really shines through here, as it does elsewhere, and they offer up the same streamlined and no nonsense approach defining earlier songs like the opener. They let us know that they are an outfit capable of surprising even hardened music fans with the final track “Transfiguration”. This acoustic guitar driven song is joined by some lovely piano playing but, despite the very different sound, “Transfiguration” sounds very much a part of the same band who produced the three preceding songs. It’s an all –around great performance with the two oldest siblings, Elliot and Eden, winning us over thanks to their playing and vocals respectively. The Magnifiers are an amazing band with boundless potential and they are realizing it more and more with each successive release.

9 out of 10 stars


Craig Bowles