Ears Wide Open: M.A.G.S.

M.A.G.S. (Photo by Corey C. Waters)

M.A.G.S. is the musical vehicle of Buffalo, N.Y., native Elliott Douglas, who, releasing his self-titled debut album in 2017, came west with an armload of songs stylistically ranging from garage-rock to post-punk to alt-pop to straight-ahead pop-rock.

The newest single “Smile” is about the intensity of a common lovers quarrel. In conveying both his feelings of apathy and eagerness to change, he sings, with no animosity, “So put your hand in my hand / no more fighting at all over that bullshit.”

“The push and pull of emotions and the fiery anecdotes that engulf every disagreement eventually collapse into a singular moment of exasperation when you realize you don’t remember what you were fighting about,” he says. “‘Smile’ explores the dark, brooding thoughts of one person’s longing to change and trying to find a middle ground between two peoples’ needs.”

“Smile” follows Douglas’ spring EP “Lost Tapes.” His discography thus holds promise for fans of both rock and pop; in another time, he probably would’ve been on a Beach Goth lineup.

The video for “Smile” features Douglas as a ’70s-era detective bent on figuring out a murder case. In the short film, retro aesthetics enliven his descent into madness over the investigation. But then, just after a brief rock out in a room engulfed by vegetation, it’s as if the fourth wall breaks. He whips out an iPhone, guiding viewers into the plot’s final twist.

||| Stream: “Smile”

||| Also: Watch the video for the song

||| Also: Stream “Lost Tapes” in its entirety