Locals: The Magnumb Opus hopes to avoid post-college blues

  • Photos by Meghan Ralston
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From the July 25, 2013 edition

For many young-professional types, life after college flattens (or is that flatlines?) into comfortable routine with nary a speed bump to interrupt the endless cycle between cubicle and couch. It’s easy to miss the beauty in life when your most stimulating experience is a Facebook notification.

“Everybody’s everyday life is a masterpiece, but we’re kind of numb to it,” singer-guitarist Mike Bath said, explaining the origin of his band’s name, The Magnumb Opus.

The best way to inject vitality into all those mundane machinations? Start a band, of course. That’s what the guys behind The Magnumb Opus did. After a debauched trip to Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, Ohio State buddies Bath and Dan Sulka convinced their trombonist pal Greg Howard to take up the drums.

This Friday, five years after that road trip, they’ll see their hobby materialize into an honest-to-God artifact with the release of a self-titled debut album at Woodlands Tavern.

The music therein owes a steep debt to The National, a band of white male urbanites coping with fleeting youth and looming middle age, their soundscapes as exquisitely tailored as their suits. Shades of Interpol, another melancholic, sleekly attired Brooklyn band, are in the mix too. But the subject matter is distinctly Midwestern, so the sound is appropriately ragtag compared to its inspirations.

“I wanted to write about everyday life and the American dream,” Bath said. “The idea is the great work isn’t necessarily about a masterpiece... It’s about working hard.”

Plenty of hard work went into the new record. The band started recording it more than two years ago and has written another album’s worth of songs since then. Saturday’s set will feature a mix of that new material and songs from the LP.

What they do next is partially dependent on whether bassist Mil Gulzar heads home to Iran. They hope to play more out-of-town shows and make a second record, but regardless of what happens, The Magnumb Opus will likely persist.

“To me it was a stress relief,” Howard said. “It’s nice to have something to do when you get home from work besides… complain about your day.”