Release Date: Jun 8, 2010
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
While we certainly couldn’t dismiss the element of a seemingly first-time Macbook user and his new toy on Here We Go Magic’s 2009 debut, the group’s second go-round combines the same gauntlet of multi-layered, guiltless indie pop with a more direct kind of ambiance. Luke Temple and Co. have set their sights high and this time, they’re absent of the “is the wall talking?” psychedelic variety.
Here We Go Magic's 2009 self-titled debut is an album marked by two distinct, disparate parts: pretty, melodic folk tunes that gain momentum as they go along and, tucked between those songs, vignettes brought to life with droning ambient electronic textures, white noise, and repetitve sound loops. There was enough of both styles on that album to raise a legitimate question as to which direction the members of Here We Go Magic would take their sound. On Pigeons, Luke Temple and company have turned a neat trick.
Listeners crave tidy narratives. Thus, when "Collector", the second track from Here We Go Magic's second LP and first as a full band, Pigeons, began to make the blog rounds, there was quite a bit of chatter about the album possibly being the band's-- and its bandleader, Luke Temple's-- breakout moment. Makes sense: It's hard to listen to "Collector"-- one of the finest pieces of post-Sufjan Stevens chamber pop-- and not get excited about something.
Luke Temple’s atmospheric folk takes flight. It’s been an especially fruitful year for Luke Temple. Since the psych-folk singer re-branded himself as Here We Go Magic in 2009, he’s released a self-titled debut, gained four band members, toured with The Walkmen and fellow Brooklynites Grizzly Bear and crafted a follow-up, Pigeons. The music is richer, more atmospheric and stranger than ever.
In hindsight, with the passing release of Here We Go Magic’s sophomore effort and debut for Secretly Canadian, Pigeons, its reception among the music press that had hotly tipped it as the band’s breakthrough album now seems coolly anti-climactic. Following a quietly celebrated sleeper with last year’s self-titled record, an opening slot on Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest tour, and the triumphant jump to the Indiana-based indie super label, Here We Go Magic stood poised on the threshold of fulfilling the bubbling potential gurgling throughout frontman Luke Temple’s previous output. Yet with the glimpse into lead single “Collector”—all swirling washes of fuzzy, kaleidoscopic pop confetti—Temple and his cohorts seemingly peaked before sloping into a rather indifferent reaction from fans and critics alike, a puzzling response that provokes even further head-scratching after several months of absorption reveal Pigeons as a spangled hidden gem buried beneath 2010’s high profile releases.
Naming your record after the rats of the skies doesn’t make for the best start, but, thankfully, [a]Here We Go Magic[/a]’s second offering is yucky in title only. This psychedelic folk pop-athon of tickled riffs, snappy elastic basslines, shimmering synths and sweetly sung vocals is all dreamy eccentricity, with a bittersweet hint of rhythmic unrest, from start to finish, and should send Hidden Cameras fans into an amorous tizz after just one listen. A weird highlight comes when frontman Luke Temple asks an unknown entity, “Are you vegetable or native?” Riiight… You may not have a clue what’s going on with this Brooklyn quintet, but it’s fantastic madness all the same.
Remember those Claritin commercials? You know the ones. There’s some spokeswoman in the middle of a green, green field holding a tennis racket or other athletic device and rubbing her allergic eyeballs. Then they pull a layer of something saran-wrap-like up from one corner of the screen and suddenly everything’s the kind of vivid bright you didn’t know to expect, because until they removed the film, the slightly hazier version looked pretty normal.
A helpful banner on Here We Go Magic’s MySpace page tells us the band is 'for fans of Yeasayer, Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear. ' And although yeah, there’s a modicum of Animal Collective’s joyful electronic shimmer, Grizzly Bear’s wistful romance and Odd Blood's sometimes unorthodox pop sensibilities to be found in the hazy folds of Pigeons, really, it’s not that apt a series of comparisons. The decision to use the most visible players in leftfield pop as a reference point will no doubt do HWGM no end of favours by bringing them to the attention of a multitude of audiences, but it’s worth pointing out from the get go that far from being derivative, they’re peddling a tune completely of their own.
Here We Go Magic made waves in early 2009 with an eponymous debut that was the one-man home recording project of indie folker Luke Temple; a curious, sonically hazy album essentially divided between sketchy ambient noise instrumentals and simple, tuneful, loosely tribal-feeling folk-pop nuggets. A little more than a year later, HWGM is now a full-fledged five-piece band with extensive touring behind them and a deal with big-league indie Secretly Canadian, but while their follow-up effort, Pigeons, varies from its predecessor in plenty of ways, the band's musical approach remains puzzlingly, if not unpleasantly, undefined. The most substantial through-line from the first album is one of sound, which remains dirty, dreamy, psychedelic, and swirling -- produced and recorded by the band in a house in the Catskills, Pigeons offers no substantial increase in recording fidelity, which turns out to be a good thing.
A smart, talented band carving out their own uncommon, enchanting space. Chris Power 2010 Redraw those best music of 2010 lists because Pigeons, the second album from Here We Go Magic, will be alighting somewhere near the top of them. Their self-titled debut was one of 2009’s nicer surprises, more distinctive than bandleader Luke Temple’s previous work under his own name, and Pigeons builds emphatically on that success.
Here We Go Magic Luke Temple could be talking to himself in a song called “Collector” on Here We Go Magic’s second album, “Pigeons” (Secretly Canadian), when he sings, “You find the Lord in repetition.” His kind of repetition is the ceaseless, clockwork patterns of New York City art-rock and 1970s Krautrock; the electric-organ tones are the direct link. In Here We Go Magic’s songs, the Minimalist patterns can be a foundation, a calm pulse, a motor, a vocal chorale, a gauzy swirl of guitars or a circusy tootle, swelling within a song or racing all around it. Mr.