The Magic Numbers are an English pop rock band comprising two pairs of brothers and sisters from Hanwell. The group was formed in 2002, releasing their debut album titled The Magic Numbers on 13 June 2005. Their follow-up album, Those the Brokes was released on 6 November 2006, and their most recent album The Runaway was released on 6 June 2010.
The Magic Numbers consists of Romeo Stodart (lead guitar, vocals), his sister Michele (bass guitar, vocals, keyboard), Angela Gannon (melodica, percussion, glockenspiel, vocals) and her brother Sean Gannon (drums). The band are managed by Stephen Budd and Al Lavelle.
The Stodarts are the children of a Scottish father and a Portuguese mother and were born in Trinidad in the Caribbean, where their mother was an opera singer and had her own TV show. When the family fled an Islamic coup attempt there in 1990, they were raised in New York. In the mid-1990s, when Romeo was 16 and Michele was 10, they moved to London.
The Gannons are of Irish descent but lived in Hanwell, London where they became friends with their neighbours the Stodarts. Prior to forming The Magic Numbers, Romeo and Sean spent time trying to form a band together under various guises, and previously performed under the name 'Guess'.
In late 2002 The Magic Numbers formed in their present guise, and they began touring the London circuit, gradually developing their sound and building a small cult following, not least amongst some already established artists including The Chemical Brothers, Travis, and Ed Harcourt, with the latter later influential in their signing to record label Heavenly Records, narrowly choosing that label over Rough Trade Records.
Their rise came swiftly, beginning in the summer of 2004 and later that year when they began supporting well-known artists such as Travis, Ed Harcourt and Snow Patrol and appearing on the bill of some low-key UK festivals, building a larger following by increasing their live performances. In November 2004, they released a limited edition 7" vinyl single, "Hymn for Her", to coincide with a three-show residency at The Borderline in London.
The Magic Numbers:
On the back of releasing just one commercially-available single, "Forever Lost", and even before their debut album was released, they played a sold-out show to a crowd of over 2,000 at The Forum in Kentish Town, London, where a limited number of live albums of the gig were released. They played their first live session on UK radio on the Dermot O'Leary Show for BBC Radio 2.
Their eponymous debut album was recorded in late 2004 and early 2005 at Metropolis Studios in London, and released on 13 June 2005. The album was produced and recorded by American producer Craig Silvey. Prior to release, only "Forever Lost" was promoted as a commercial single. This was followed up by later single releases "Love Me Like You", "Love's a Game" and "I See You, You See Me".
Following the release of their debut album, the remainder of 2005 and the first few months of 2006 were spent touring and promoting their album and singles, throughout the UK and USA, across Europe and also in New Zealand, Australia and Japan. Their Japanese tour was featured as a side documentary on Jonathan Ross's Japanorama.
Although heavily played down, they received a large amount of press attention for being the first band to walk off the TV show Top of the Pops after host Richard Bacon allegedly insulted their physiques (calling them "a big fat melting pot of talent" in their introduction) shortly before they were due to appear on the show to promote their single "Love Me Like You".
The album was shortlisted in 2005 for the coveted Mercury Music Prize.
Those the Brokes:
After their heavy touring and promotion of their self-titled debut, The Magic Numbers would return in autumn of 2006 with their follow-up album, Those the Brokes. The band did another extensive run of shows to promote and tour for the album, including supporting The Who in Southampton, and an appearance at the 2007 Glastonbury Festival.
The album was partly recorded in New York at Allaire Studios in Spring 2006, a venue which has also been used in the past by David Bowie, The Strokes and Ryan Adams, and was recorded and engineered by Richard Wilkinson.
A live album entitled Live at the Kentish Town Forum was released in February 2007, featuring a live performance of songs from both of the band's two albums.
The band took some time off during 2008, before reconvening in late 2009 to begin work on their third studio album. The band's website was updated to inform fans that the new album would be entitled The Runaway. The album was produced by Romeo Stodart with Valgeir Sigurðsson, who has previously worked with artists such as Björk, Bonnie Prince Billy and Múm. The album was mixed by Ben Hillier, and features string arrangements by the late Robert Kirby, who worked on Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left album. The album was released on 26 July 2010.
The Magic Numbers played at the 2010 Splendour in the Grass festival. During their time in Australia, they did shows in Melbourne and Sydney with Blue Mountains band Cloud Control. They also played at the annual Glastonbury Festival.
Solo album by Michele Stodart:
In 2012, Michele Stodart released a solo album with a strong country music influence, Wide-Eyed Crossing, accompanying herself on the guitar. It contains a duet with Conor O'Brien from the Villagers and was promoted on a solo tour by Stodart.
Acoustic tour and new album:
In May 2013, The Magic Numbers announced their first ever acoustic tour, to start at the Phoenix in Exeter on Friday 6 September and end at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal on Friday 4 October. The five-week tour sees the band playing in the intimate surroundings of some of the most beautiful theatres, churches and live music venues across the UK and Ireland.
The fourth album is scheduled for release in early 2014, with lead singer Romeo Stodart having confirmed in August 2013 that the album is complete.