Release Date: Oct 16, 2015
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Experimental Rock
On Here We Go Magic's self-titled 2009 debut, frontman Luke Temple sang, on the album's closing vertiginous ballad "Everything's Big," "Eat like a cow, get fat like a pig." The venomous nature of the line was mitigated by the gorgeous instrumentation, as Temple sank his fangs into rampant consumerism and hedonism. On the act's fourth album, Be Small, parallels can be drawn to that six-year-old track, as the album finds Temple railing against carbon footprints and extraneous waste, while espousing an all-around more ascetic lifestyle. .
With an intentionally brighter personality than prior Here We Go Magic LPs -- from time to time even managing outright infectiousness, if of a trippy, textured variety -- the band's fourth long player, Be Small, is a more modest production than their last effort, the Nigel Godrich-produced A Different Ship. A self-produced home recording made with the core of just leader Luke Temple and guitarist Michael Bloch, it still bears Temple's usual tension between pop and free-form, and with other performers lending a hand and Temple behind the wheel, personnel may be a technicality. The album's lead single, "Falling," is a catchy, kaleidoscopic celebration that jumbles love, sleep, dreaming, memory, and metaphor ("Who is the lucid in your mile high dream") under the guise of a chipper chorus ("You're falling…falling in love"), with an ending that "could pull the rug out from an upright man.
From Dirty Projectors to Grizzly Bear, Brooklyn bands have a deserved reputation for indie smartness, a milieu of baroque rock, dissonant chords and daring time signatures. Here We Go Magic – occasionally a five-piece, now down to the core duo of Luke Temple and Michael Bloch – have operated in these Brooklynite margins for seven years, sometimes chancing on pure pop delirium (take 2010’s ‘Collector’) but more often coming up with gorgeously mannered yacht-rock; all very much in keeping with their peers. This fourth album might just steer them in their own direction.
The tone of Here We Go Magic has shifted profoundly — and not just in the musical sense of the term. Where their last release, 2012’s A Different Ship, was cool and austere, Be Small is (for better or worse) warm and inviting. Legend has it that the band were playing a sedate early morning set at Glastonbury 2010 when, through a sea of hangovers and comedowns, they noticed a couple of guys in the crowd dancing rather passionately.
Since the release of the first self-titled Here We Go Magic record in 2009, Luke Temple has slowly transformed the principles for which his moniker follows. He’s gone from moulding Folktronica-led experimental textures to polished, albeit distracted, synth pop. Now upon the release of his fourth, ‘Be Small’, Temple continues to test exploratory phases whilst attempting to find balance within a pop ethos.