7inch Sunday: The Daredevil Christopher Wright / Cuddle Magic

7inch Sunday is a segment devoted entirely to 7” vinyl and the all-encompassing experience surrounding it. Although most publications cover major releases, the vinyl single is often overlooked and given nothing more than a half-hearted nod of acknowledgement. This weekly feature is a hub for 7” reviews, exploring the B-sides and rarities of artists that may often go unnoticed.

Each Sunday I will review 7” vinyl from artists who venture this extra mile to hold their singles high above the sea of digital releases. I hope to embody the spirit of vinyl while sharing some fantastic music with you, the reader. Let’s get started.

How do you unintentionally subject two bands to be compared against one another? Put them on a split 45! Nobody listens with such a goal, but the endeavor often defaults to bitter debates on which 4-minute sample track reigns supreme. This week’s 7inch Sunday features a split single from The Daredevil Christopher Wright and Cuddle Magic, but instead of forcing listeners to pick a respective favorite, the split works entirely to both acts’ favors.

The cover of the single is minimalist, but impressively effective. Separating the two artists’ names with nothing more than a geometric see-saw, the artwork wastes no time with frivolous design or imagery. While it may not be the best attention-grabber on the end cap of a retail store, the contents inside are enough to sell the product to the pickiest of ears.

Occasionally there comes a song treated with such melancholy delicacy that can only be explained by the track itself. The Daredevil Christopher Wright – although including no one by such a name – accomplish such an undertaking with “A Man of the Arts.” Recently featured on NPR, the song floats through poignant observation with chopped-up, yet soothing vocal akin to Radiohead’s “Exit Music (For A Film).” The bass parallels the band throughout choruses, but takes on a mind of its own throughout each verse. All this combines to generate a timid and complex song teeming with emotion and haunting reflection.

The B-side, Cuddle Magic’s “Rabbit Time,” is not as somber as “A Man of the Arts,” but brings a couple entirely different elements: thick instrumentation and tasteful discord. A xylophone punches out a constant line of melody at a not so constant rate against drawn-out strings to create a phenomenal tension, and complementing the tension are vocal harmonies that lower in pitch like air slowly deflating out of a bike tire. Responding to these nuances is the dynamic range of instruments controlling the minute-long instrumental deviation. Comprised of trumpet and clarinet, this short break bleeds back into the Ben Gibbard-inspired vocals and returns only to conclude the track.

Check back next week for a look at Mister Lies’ Dionysian.

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