Release Date: May 8, 2012
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock
Brooklyn’s Here We Go Magic is a band that has been growing, physically and sonically. Originally a project for folk songwriter Luke Temple to have a brand name associated with his Shins meets Simon and Garfunkel approach to lo-fi songwriting, the “band” swelled to a five piece, released 2010’s Pigeons, and is now expanding yet again by snagging Radiohead producer (credited sometimes as a sixth member of said group, such is his influence) Nigel Godrich to helm the production deck of their A Different Ship, the third album under the Here We Go Magic moniker. You may be wondering what Mob favour Temple and company had to pull in to get such an appreciated producer to work on an indie album, but the story goes that the band played the Glastonbury Festival in June 2010 deprived of sleep, but managed to perform well enough to impress both Godrich and Thom Yorke, who would later call the band his favourite of the festival, both of whom were in the front row during the set.
Here We Go Magic’s third LP feels like a call to creative arms, with songwriter Luke Temple steering by example. As in the case of its predecessors, A Different Ship is keen to stow multiple genres, ebbing along with schools of flying Phish (“Make Up Your Mind”) and flowing over crests smooth enough to make out radio static (“Over the Ocean”)—everything from turquoise to cadet blue. The thesis rears up on “I Believe in Action,” with its show-don’t-tell demand: “Don’t imagine anything at all.” .
A tussle between bedroom candor and soaring, polished arrangements has resulted in Brooklyn five-piece Here We Go Magic’s metamorphosis from an outfit occupying the nooks and crannies of psychedelic circles to a glossy collective whose recent efforts have led to performances everywhere from Bonnaroo to Glastonbury—where Thom Yorke praised the group as his favorite act of the festival. Live, Luke Temple and company are hard to beat—explaining why Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich jumped to produce their fourth release after catching a particularly rousing set. Avoiding an overly rehearsed vibe by taking the time to improvise with reconstructed arrangements—pasting together newer, unpolished material with well-received offerings off LPs like 2010’s Pigeons—the band treats each performance as an influx of art.
As the crowd hung reproachfully from their languid skeletons it seemed as though this would pass, for the band, like some spurious road sign to somewhere they would never know. At the front of the stage, however, among the deadpan hippy-freaks and wild children, two figures announced themselves, unknowingly to the band, with their enthusiasm: they happened to be Thom Yorke (Radiohead) and Nigel Godrich (Producer). Yorke, apparently, had been an admirer for some time and introduced Godrich to the band.
Here We Go Magic's latest effort – a collection of sentimentally ambiguous cyclical grooves – somewhat wrong-foots its listener with its 60-second 'Intro.' Listening to the brief clip of kitchenware banging tribal faffery; all pots and pans and ceremonious yelping, you start to worry that the New York sextet may have lost all grounding in the writing and recording of their third album. They haven't. Faith is immediately restored in the Nigel Godrich-produced A Different Ship almost immediately: 'Hard To Be Close,' something of a luau for a rainy day, pitches inner-city grooves against a Polynesian lull, and the refreshing atmosphere that this creates is immediately engrossing.
A different ship? You bet it’s different. Fuck knows what they are, but let’s call Thom Yorke faves HWGM the Yank Field Music. This is because like the brothers Brewis, the Brooklyn-based quintet traverse an unplaceable pop-era on grooves, prog chops and a spellbinding ennui, sounding effortless throughout.A throwback to diffident mavericks of the ’70s, with an unassuming pop nous ‘I Believe In Action’ gets tropical over a slow-release ascent, while ‘Make Up Your Mind’ conjures weird bliss from a Beefheartian boogie.
Kids, let this be a lesson to you: play a great set, and you could end up with friend-of-Radiohead Nigel Godrich producing your third album. Thus was the fate of Here We Go Magic, who landed help from the unofficial sixth member of Radiohead after playing Glastonbury in 2010 and impressing Godrich. .
Unlike in hip-hop, where news of DJ Premier teaming up with Nas again makes rap bloggers fill their shorts, producers in indie rock don’t have as much “OMG! He’s teaming up with who?” cultural cachet. No one’s sitting around wondering if Phil Ek is going to do another album with the Dodos, in other words. But there’s one exception to this: Nigel Godrich, he of “sixth member of Radiohead” fame, a man nearly as famous as the band he helmed the boards for.
Here We Go MagicA Different Ship[Secretly Canadian; 2012]By Marcus J. Moore; May 14, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetI've had "F.F.A.P." on repeat all week. The song — a standout from Here We Go Magic's Pigeons album — seethes quietly before it explodes into a volcanic, guitar-laden frenzy. It's almost two-sided in its tack: while much of the song is ambient gospel, the conclusion is airy alt-rock with a euphoric undercurrent.
Luke Temple and company keep on their road with the band's third album, but Here We Go Magic just aren't quite living up to their name beyond familiar, ultimately less than inspiring moves. It's not that the bandmembers aren't trying -- more than once they almost suggest an inspired fusion of early Beta Band with Hail to the Thief-era Radiohead, if more straightforwardly rock-inclined than both. But when Temple's voice takes on more of a clear Thom Yorke quality as it goes -- "Alone But Moving" in particular is pretty much an overt tribute -- then sometimes the line between inspiration and tribute is effaced.
Much of the crowd was just awakening when Here We Go Magic took to the stage at Glastonbury in 2010, but it was their sighting of a famous pair (“that’s fucking Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich“) amongst them that unknowingly set the trajectory for A Different Ship. Godrich later appeared at follow up gigs, and while Here We Go Magic had yet to talk of a new record, it was his offer to assist them that changed their minds. While the album was recorded in the wake of a can’t miss opportunity, it’s the band’s strongest release to date.
For DIY recording artists, the appeal of making music in your bedroom goes beyond the obvious budgetary considerations. At its very core, the lo-fi aesthetic is invaluable in setting a greater mood: The raw, atmosphere-heavy result of using tape-cassette recorders and intentional quality degradation can evoke an intimacy and allure few lyrics or instrumentation could ever achieve. It’s the reason Ernest Greene’s Within and Without, steeped in multiple layers of worn, analog-fueled idiosyncrasies, remains a master class in how to bolster melody with mood.
The wondrous aspect about music, including the artists and bands that create it, is that those imagined sounds don’t necessarily need to be reproduced. For years, people complained that Radiohead would never make another The Bends; then for years, everyone whined Radiohead would never make another Kid A; and most recently, it’s about everyone crying that Radiohead won’t make another In Rainbows. Succinctly so, they frankly don’t give a damn.
Over the course of two albums, Here We Go Magic honcho Luke Temple has defined himself by smudging definition, drifting stylistically in the gloaming between Bradford Cox’s frontier bedroom pop and Thom Yorke’s restless solo jags. And as he added band members (they’re now a four-piece), his songs grew thicker, his layers brushy. After winning over Yorke and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich at the Glastonbury Festival, the latter offered to produce “A Different Ship.” The result is a stunning reboot.
After listening to ‘A Different Ship’ you might think, “wow, this really reminds me of Radiohead for some reason.” Little wonder then that the band have brought in Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich for their latest offering. However, this is to their credit as Here We Go Magic share Radiohead’s adeptness at carrying beautiful and genuinely moving melodies, and instrumentals which become warped with electronic embellishments. Even singer, Luke Temple, sounds pretty similar to Thom Yorke when he opts for that cracked falsetto of his (check out ‘Alone But Moving’ in particular).
In an age where bands rush to get their first noteworthy ideas out into the public domain before they've even played a gig, and have shot their creative load by the time their debut album hits stores, it's good to see a group taking time to work out their strengths and weaknesses and develop their sound. In 2009 Luke Temple - a Brooklynite with a pair of folky solo albums to his name - adopted the moniker Here We Go Magic and put out an eponymous LP of hazy, 4-track recorded ambient pop and psychedelic white noise spun from looped guitars and layered synths that, despite being pleasant enough in an unassumingly lo-fi kind of way, failed to leave any real lasting impression. Released just a year later, follow-up Pigeons sounded like the work of a different group altogether, which - to all intents and purposes - it was.
OFF! “Off!” (Vice) “Off!,” the first full-length album by the Los Angeles band of the same name, contains some clues that it was recorded in the recent past and not the late 1970s. The third word of Keith Morris’s lyrics in “Wiped Out” is “disconnect” in noun form, which you probably wouldn’t have heard 30 years ago outside of government or the telecommunications industry. And definitely not from the guy Mr.
Sharp, disciplined, and seriously compelling stuff from the Brooklyn band. Chris Power 2012 When they play live, Here We Go Magic’s intricately constructed indie-pop often spins off into extended, ecstatic jams, clearly descended from the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service. But where those bands looked back to blues and 1950s rock‘n’roll, stretching it until it took on mythic proportions, HWGM are like a late-60s psychedelic band dreaming their way towards the perfected machine-like repetitions of Krautrock.