The Magic Epic – More Than Just Pretty (2021)

The brainchild of singer-songwriter Toby Juan, The Magic Epic brings together elements of folk, pop, indie-rock and soul. Yet, while his sophisticated sound seems to have evolved over decades, The Magic Epic is only seven years (give or take) in the making. Originally working as a hod carrier in London, Juan would spend his days carrying brick and cement until he became fed up with that existence. Instead of “sucking it up and carrying on”, this UK-based artist turned to music and began busking full time – this not only gave him a chance to hone his sound but also overcome performance anxiety.

Merging the sounds of James Blunt, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon and Jeff Buckley in The Magic Epic, Juan adds an old-school intimacy to contemporary folk-rock/pop. Beyond The Other Side Reviews’ borders, his music has been shared with international audiences via notable blogs and online radio stations – Nexus Music Blog, RGM, YMX and iHeart Radio to name a few. Following his evocative single ‘Sally’ (read our review here), Juan recently released ‘More Than Just Pretty’.

“This was the first song I wrote in a new batch of material. I was in a place where I couldn’t love again after previous events. I then met one of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen. The more time we spent together, the more I realised that she was in a worse place than I. This was all down to the attention she got and that had made her this way. At this point in time, we were both trying to find happiness in the wrong places and that’s usually where we’d bump each other. I didn’t see this person again for many years but when I did they’d found their peace and I’d found mine.” – The Magic Epic on ‘More Than Just Pretty’

Endearing in its simplicity, ‘More Than Just Pretty’ is an acoustic-influenced combination of guitars, drums, piano and rich vocals. With beautiful texturing and layers, Juan seems to give each instrument a dominant role but within a succinct, harmonic whole. What do I mean by this? Well, the interspersed piano adds heart to the song with drums setting the beat. Not only this, but the primarily guitar-driven song has a range of dips and rises coinciding with the journey you are being taken on.

Catchy choruses, powerful guitar riffs and an energetic nature, without being too overwhelming high-paced, ‘More Than Just Pretty’ is the sonic representation of self-discovery and inner peace. Using a personal narrative, The Magic Epic eloquently shares his experiences of finding himself after a trying time. What I find particularly intriguing about this empowering single is the movement from melancholic reflection to enlightened hopefulness using heartfelt lyricism and emotive melodies. It is this heartfelt endearment that seems to make The Magic Epic’s music more “sparkly and shiny”.

In addition to the moving song, Toby Juan released a music video for ‘More Than Just Pretty’. As simplistic as the audio, the official music video adds a visual element to the core beauty of ‘More Than Just Pretty’. Following a protagonist on her walk along the beach, up the bank and on the water (in a boat, of course), The Magic Epic makes the song more lighthearted and relatable. The soothing images meld with the soothing Paul Simon-esque tune enhancing its poignancy, honesty and infectiousness. Bonus points: the video does not use strobe effects so people with photosensitive epilepsy can enjoy it without any concerns.

For more from The Magic Epic check out his official website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify.

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