By David Courtright
I saw Here We Go Magic at The EARL around this time last year. I had listened to a few of their songs on MySpace, and though none of them hooked me into a mad dash for the box office, it was good – it was agreeable to listen to. While the show was fun, the songs went on an average of five minutes too long, and turned what were tidy hooks and segues on their first album into drawn-out, over-acted jams. It felt like the band was playing only for themselves – which sometimes is just what you want from a band. Perhaps the immediacy of internet music culture and our attention-deficit culture pushed me to wish for a “next” button. What I came away with from that show is essentially the same way I feel about this album: that the songwriting is solid, the hooks are memorable, but just when you want it all to shift up a notch, it fades and dissolves; or adversely, draws itself out just when it should fade away. What I really adore about the new album Pigeons though is exactly that restraint: it listlessly coaxes you through it, building slowly and backing down just before you want it to climax. As a whole, it evokes and inspires just what this kind of humid mid-June weather demands: languor.
The album opener, “Hibernation,” unfolds with a rolling drum beat, funky bassline and cyclical hook. Here We Go Magic’s lyricist and lead vocalist Luke Temple is no stranger to lyrical loops and recurring themes. That their newest release Pigeons lends heavily from krautrock is also no real surprise: their eponymous release last year, though far less congruous than this one, gave more than one nod to rollicking kraut influences. Here We Go Magic began as Temple’s four-track bedroom project. It was only last year that he recruited musicians Kristina Lieberson (keyboards), Michael Bloch (guitar), Jennifer Turner (bass guitar) and Peter Hale (drums). Their presence in his creative process has undeniably given more focus to his dreamy pop and ambient wanderings.
The second song on the album, “Collector,” got a good bit of notice in the blogosphere, and speaks of a songwriter now comfortable with the group of musicians he had surrounded himself with. This song is a stand-out track, and delivers that climactic danceability you want but can’t have from the majority of the album. The remainder of the album peels away slowly. “Bottom Feeder,” a 3/4-time folky ballad, takes its time in unfolding, but doesn’t disappoint. It’s no surprise, with the current chillwave craze seeping its sunny way across the blogpool, that this languid, sunny album would land on a good note in the indie world.
Here We Go Magic play The EARL on August 6.