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POP MUSIC REVIEWS

At Roxy, Magnapop Presents Poised, Catchy Balancing Act

July 29, 1996|SARA SCRIBNER

The Georgia band Magnapop likes to punch holes in expectations. Singer Linda Hopper walked onstage at the Roxy on Saturday exuding the poise of a platinum-blond film-noir queen in jeans and a T-shirt, but the low-key, attitude-free performer wasn't interested in preening in the spotlight. Instead, she hunched over her microphone and sang about drug-addled friends dying and desperate lovers trying (and failing) to bridge communication breakdowns.

Hopper's vocals were suspended between conversational rap and off-kilter, melodic singing, but her songs are all about painfully plumbing the dark depths of her experience. The entire band knows a lot about balancing dark and light: Hopper smiled while delivering her blackest lyrics, Shannon Mulvaney made his supple bass positively lilt as he lurched around the stage, and no-nonsense guitarist Ruthie Morris offered sweet, melodic twists and then monster power chords.

The band played its current radio hit "Open the Door" early in the set, but even after Hopper had delivered its startling lines--"Everything is good these days, but all of my friends are dying"--Magnapop had plenty more disturbing words and catchy hooks up its sleeves.

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