Magic, Murder and the Weather

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Magic, Murder and the Weather
Studio album by Magazine
Released June 1981
Recorded 1981
Studio Trident Studios, London
Genre New wave, post-punk
Length 39:52
Label Virgin
Magazine chronology
Magic, Murder and the Weather
No Thyself
Singles from Magic, Murder and the Weather
  1. "About the Weather"/"In the Dark"/"The Operative"
    Released: July 1981

Magic, Murder and the Weather is the fourth studio album by English post-punk band Magazine, and their final album until the band's reformation in 2009. It was released in June 1981 by record label Virgin. One single, "About the Weather", was released from the album.


Unlike on the group's former album The Correct Use of Soap, the writing credits for Magic, Murder and the Weather were not shared equally. The majority of the songs were written by keyboardist Dave Formula; only the opening three songs of side two of the LP were credited to all five members. Consistent with all Magazine's albums, the lyrics were written by Howard Devoto.


Magic, Murder and the Weather was recorded at Trident Studios, London in early 1981, with John Brand recording and engineering and The Correct Use of Soap producer Martin Hannett credited for mixing. A producer is not credited. Hannett mixed the album at Strawberry Studios in Stockport, with Chris Nagel assisting.

The classic lineup of the band had ended when guitarist and founding member John McGeoch had departed in mid-1980 to join Siouxsie and the Banshees. Former Ultravox guitarist Robin Simon, who played guitar for Magazine's 1980 world tour, left the group soon after the tour. Replacing him was ex-Amazorblades guitarist and Devoto friend Ben Mandelson. The lineup that recorded the album was as follows: Devoto (vocals and guitar), Barry Adamson (bass), Formula (keyboards), John Doyle (drums) and Mandelson (guitar and violin). Laura Teresa and Ray Shell also contributed backing vocals.

Album cover[edit]

The original artwork was designed by Malcolm Garret, with photography by Bruce Gilden.


The album was originally released on vinyl and cassette in June 1981. The album peaked at No. 39 on the UK Album Chart.[1] "About the Weather" was released as a single the following month.

The album was remastered by Virgin/EMI in 2007 along with the other three of the band's first four studio albums, and included two bonus tracks and liner notes by Kieron Tyler.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[2]
Stylus C–[3]

Magic, Murder and the Weather has generally been poorly received by critics. AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote that the album "finds Dave Formula's washes of cold, brittle keyboards dominating the bitter and cynical music. Occasionally, Howard Devoto's weary lyrics surface through the icy mix, but it's clear that Devoto and Magazine have both had better days. It's not a graceful way to bow out, but the album has enough strong moments to prevent it from being an embarrassment as well."[2] Peter Parrish of Stylus wrote: "Devoto sounds as though his heart is no longer in it. The vibrancy found on The Correct Use of Soap has all but ebbed away and much of the record is bogged down by leaden, uninspired sounds that would have been unimaginable on earlier releases."[3]

Breakup and live performances[edit]

Prior to the group's reformation in 2009 and the release of No Thyself in 2011, Magic, Murder and the Weather was the group's final studio album. Months before the album's release, Devoto, disillusioned with the conditions in the band (McGeoch quitting, and failing to get a true replacement for him), decided to quit Magazine. After the release, Magazine decided to dissolve, because they could not imagine a "post-Devoto" lineup.[4]

Despite the breakup, the members continued to work together on each other's projects throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. Most notably, Doyle and McGeoch worked together in the short-lived group The Armoury Show, Formula and Adamson continued to work with Visage, and Formula worked on Devoto's 1983 solo album Jerky Versions of the Dream.

Due to Devoto's departure and Magazine's subsequent disbanding, the album was never showcased live until the band reformed. Tracks from Magic, Murder and the Weather were performed live beginning with Magazine's 2009 tours. Devoto explained that rather than playing new material during the shows, it was an opportunity to play music from the 1981 album: "We've never played any of [Magic, Murder and the Weather] live before, and you know, we reckoned it was just enough to stick with the old stuff. But once we had gone through that first year, I wanted a bit of new material to freshen up the set, as it were, both for ourselves and the audience."[5] Live recordings of "The Honeymoon Killers" and "This Poison" appeared on the DVD/CD set Real Life + Thereafter, released in 2009.

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Howard Devoto.

Side A
No. Title Music Length
1. "About the Weather" Dave Formula 4:06
2. "So Lucky" Formula, Robin Simon 4:11
3. "The Honeymoon Killers" Barry Adamson, Ben Mandelson 3:39
4. "Vigilance" Devoto, Adamson 5:15
5. "Come Alive" Formula 3:43
Side B
No. Title Music Length
6. "The Great Man's Secrets" Devoto, Adamson, John Doyle, Formula, Mandelson 4:57
7. "This Poison" Devoto, Adamson, Doyle, Formula, Mandelson 4:20
8. "Naked Eye" Devoto, Adamson, Doyle, Formula, Mandelson 3:30
9. "Suburban Rhonda" Devoto, Formula 3:32
10. "The Garden" Formula 2:39


Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1981) Peak
UK Album Chart 39[1]


  1. ^ a b "Magazine | Artist | Official Charts". Official Charts. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Magic, Murder and the Weather – Magazine | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Parrish, Peter (4 May 2007). "Magazine – Real Life / Secondhand Daylight / The Correct Use of Soap / Magic, Murder and the Weather – Review – Stylus Magazine". Stylus. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Magic, Murder and the Weather reissue sleeve notes, 2007
  5. ^ Lowrey, Nix (18 October 2011). "The Quietus | Features | A Quietus Interview | No Thyself: Magazine's Howard Devoto Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 

External links[edit]