Here We Go Magic Here We Go MagicPigeons
The singer-songwriter Luke Temple grew up in the university town of Boston, and like many others ended up moving to New York to try and make it big. He’d come to work as a visual artist and charming composer from 1999 until he managed to put out two albums laughing at the banjo, ascribing to the guidelines of the most independent “bedroom folk.” “Hold A Match For A Gasoline World” in 2005, and “Snowbeast” in 2007, showed him to be an alchemist with plenty of aptitude for approaching prodigious melodies, but in 2009 he moved towards exploring rhythms and atmospheres as well. And Here We Go Magic was born - a group of musicians obligated to take to the stages with a homonymous debut album (2009), composed practically entirely alone and recorded on a four-track. Today, the media attention has given the group the exposure they deserve, and although he says that he is going to continue recording under his own name, it’s certain that this project will take up more time now. The group have just been signed by Secretly Canadian, and if they continue to bring out work as pleasant as “Pigeons” then their blossoming will be a happy one to witness. For the moment, the seeds are sown, and you can even begin to see the buds.
Things are on the right track, and evolution is palpable. The first album did shamelessly imbibe the hangover left by the unequalled “Person Pitch” by Panda Bear, but the group gave it an estimable continuation, and had a great take on it. “Here We Go Magic” was flooded with pastoral textures, disturbing loops, and liquid progressions. Inside, jewels cooked over low heat, like the earthy “Fangela” or “Tunnelvision” gave off a coquettishly singular charm that left us with the burning feeling of being faced with a special group that is still development — but you could always tell they had things to say and the desire to say them. And here is “Pigeons” to back up those suppositions and solidify their best finds. “Pigeons” situates itself in relation to that one-man-band debut as the project’s real coming-out. This second work is less spontaneous, but equally suggestive. It tries to reign in the desire for freedom that floated the group’s first compositions -with its volatile aroma of country recordings and harmonies hanging from a thread- and encourages them to tighten their belts and launch themselves decidedly into the song format.
The songs are shorter, and the colours spread out like a peacock’s tail of feathers. Influenced by listening endlessly to masters like Arthur Russell and Robert Wyatt (we can also hear Ariel Pink’s analogue fog there), and under the prism of the “Ethiopiques” series, Temple’s fascination with subversive rhythms and gauzy melodies is still as present as it was, only now the recordings are put together differently: The final track, “Herbie I Love You, Now I Know” is the pan-global exercise that The Ruby Suns of “Sea Lion” could have come up with if they hadn’t gotten into acid. What’s most striking about this big step ahead is the ability, precision and speed with which Here We Go Magic have become a band that we would have said had a lot of experience playing together. Their career has just begun and it is a real surprise that where before the songs reminded one of the progressive developments of Windsor For The Derby, today they are more inclined towards springy instrumental mattresses close to the more tangled The Sea And Cake ( “Hibernation”). As far as the internal workings and song structures go, the transformation is positive. As a whole, the project seems less weighed down and not as obsessed with the idea of having to always sound... hypnotic.
As exhibitionist now as they were modest on their debut, “Pigeons” is one of the consolidating albums of the season’s releases, and as indie catalogues go, it should be proud of itself for containing some of the best-finished hits of the year. Specifically, “Old World United” and the luminous “Collector” which, along with “Moon”, evokes a sacred rhythmic pattern that is nothing less than the jangle of The Feelies. Besides hitting the nail on the head with red-hot rhythms, we also find some timeouts to delight in. This is Temple’s more intimate side, the one that will have Loney, Dear fans running with their heads down, looking for the kleenex ( “Bottom Feeder”). So although the personality of the band at times blurs without intending to (on “F.F.A.P.”, “Land of Feeling” and “Surprise” the complacency of the Radiohead stigma can be excessive), the contrasts that they propose work smoothly. Because sometimes you don’t need anything except for an album to overflow with affection and kindness.