Review : Here We Go Magic - The January EP
PitchforkThe name "Here We Go Magic" implies two different approaches to music making: 1) Enter into the process with little more than raw talent and a belief in serendipity; and 2) Hit record, shrug, and lazily throw stuff at the wall. Luke Temple's solo project has always split the difference frustratingly between the two. On his self-titled 2009 record, Temple seemed the epitome of the pop-song-loving basement tinkerer, recreating for his own private amusement various strains of psych-pop. It was, as a result, only fitfully involving. On last year's brighter, splashier follow-up, Pigeons, he recruited a whole band to flesh out his visions, but the project meandered through a maze of styles with the same seashell-collecting abstraction.
As a result, Here We Go Magic has been a hard project to commit to; for every moment of tingly brilliance-- say, the fluttering, slow-building epic "Collector", from Pigeons, or the mesmerizing tangle of loops and drone that was the self-titled's "Only Pieces"-- there were an equal number of momentum-squashing detours and mediocre genre experiments. The January EP, by contrast, is Temple's most cohesive release under the Here We Go Magic name. He sticks with one iteration of his kaleidoscopic command of styles: the narcotized, childlike 60s folk-pop of Syd Barrett or the Move. Every song here has a surreal shimmer and sounds slightly warped at the edges. There are no towering achievements on the level of "Collector", but The January EP is Temple's most consistently immersive listen yet....full text
ConsequenceofsoundThis is one musical journey that barely seems long enough. Brooklyn’s Here We Go Magic have a truly enchanting release with The January EP. It’s an adventure in experimental psychedelic rock and falsetto vocals, guided by front-man Luke Temple. The album ends abruptly, right when it hits its stride. Six tracks, clocking in around 20 minutes, leaves listeners wanting more.
Produced by the band’s own Jen Turner, The January EP was recorded live to analog tape in a band built living room studio, during the same time as they were working on 2009′s Pigeons. With each release the group has matured and expanded on their dreamy bedroom pop sound. The January EP is a noteworthy release to add to their catalog.
The release is filled with subtle gems, that will linger with listeners long after they’ve stopped listening. It consists of a combination of captivating soundscapes that form one blissful record. “Hollywood” is a slow haunting track, filled with Temple’s repetitious whispers of “Hollywood”, crescendoing over lightly plucked strings and band member’s backing chants. “Hands in the Sky” is just as spooky, with shimmering guitars, light percussion and synths unfolding perfectly as Temple sings of a mother’s death. The lyrics, “She was gone and an angel took her place”, portray a graceful scene almost as fragile as the song....full text
SlantmagazineFive-piece indie band Here We Go Magic is perhaps the poster child for bedroom music, as the group's self-titled debut was quite literally recorded at home on an old four-track recorder. As evidenced by standout tracks like "Tunnelvision," the synthy, dreamy album captured a rich sound with very little bluster, effectively lulling and beguiling listeners with quiet, acoustic-driven psychedelia. Its 2010 follow-up, Pigeons, continued with the same engrossing, lo-fi whimsy, and The January EP manages to stay true to Here We Go Magic's mastery of pensive immediacy. The band smartly mines the depths of its sound without over-expanding or violating the intimacy it's so carefully crafted in the past, straddling the line between pop accessibility and the dense, layered allure of the bedroom genre. With The January EP, Here We Go Magic has found a way to mature their sound without abandoning its core elements.
"Hollywood" is a soft, haunting, one-refrain song that's purposefully pieced together second by second with folksy acoustic guitar plucks, tormented vocal cascades, and buzzing ambience. Voice cry, "Hollywood is real," as the sounds of electronic humming and organic instrumentation collide beautifully. The track is undoubtedly the EP's high point—a two-minute offering that stands as a perfect summation of Here We Go Magic's artful introspection and degraded production values.
The rest of The January EP never quite tops "Hollywood," but plenty of quality moments lay hidden among its winding, otherworldly tracks. Frontman Luke Temple brings a sensitive folk voice to "Hands in the Sky," a whirling song evocative of Hail to the Thief-era Radiohead, while "Mirror Me" is a clash of wailing guitar and percussion swirling storm-like around Temple's pained deliberations....full text
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