FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Step Right Up: Here We Go Magic

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Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry

In late June 2010, at the Glastonbury festival, the seeds were sown for Here We Magic’s latest album ‘A Different Ship’. The band was performing in the middle of the day, where groggy and sleepy-eyed passers-by floated by. From the stage, they could see two people at the front deeply absorbed in the music, exuding energy and emotion. The realization arrived shortly later that those two people were Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich. A short time later Godrich went to a few of Here We Go Magic’s European shows and it was decided he would produce their next album. The album is ‘A Different Ship’ and it’s Here Wo Go Magic’s finest album to date. Three albums in, the band have undergone a metamorphosis from a lo-fi solo project of Luke Temple to being a fully formed band of stellar musicians. Here We Go Magic are: singer songwriter Luke Temple, guitarist Michael Bloch, bassist Jennifer Turner, drummer Peter Hale and then keyboardist Kristina Lieberson. 2012 has also seen the release of Kristina Lieberson’s anthemic girl-group pop of Teen. Their wonderful album is entitled ‘In Limbo’, released on the Carpark label.

‘A Different Ship’ sees the band join forces with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, creating in turn an utterly compelling indie rock landscape of sound. Godrich has effectively communicated Here We Go Magic’s hypnotic live vibe on tape. Says Temple: “That’s something Nigel is amazing at–knowing where to stop us, knowing the limits of the sound palette and how to let the space breathe.” The spark of spontaneity is clearly evident. Songs like ‘Over  The Ocean’, ‘I Believe In Action’ and ‘Made To Be Old’ were written in the morning and recorded the same afternoon. The band describe the central theme to ‘A Different Ship’ as an “unresolved tension between valuing being alone and valuing being connected”. Says Luke Temple: “The music is beautiful, but feels like it’s brittle and about to crack. It’s always suspended in between major and minor, happy and sad, trying to find that middle ambiguous place”. It’s clear on ‘A Different Ship’, the band have successfully found that middle ambiguous place, and the rewards are fitting.

‘Hard To Be Close’ is the band’s new single and is the first track on ‘A Different Ship’. Warm guitar tones and a gentle drum beat guides the song along. Temple sings ‘It’s hard to be close, it’s just a touch too much’ over a beautiful, simple melody. ‘Hard To Be Close’ is a folk pop gem, where Temple’s heartfelt vocals is the song’s central spark. The music video for ‘Hard To Be Close’ must be checked out, centering on three guys stuck in an elevator for a very very long time! The hypnotic ‘Make Up Your Mind’ is alive with a Godrichesque guitar soundscape of trance like chaos. An instant classic. The song is reminiscent of ‘Kid A’ era Radiohead. Temple sings ‘Don’t push, my space/human race, replace/Make up your mind!!’ over layers of synths, guitar and a driving bassline. An anthem for a generation. ‘Alone But Moving’ is a spaced out ballad. The song flows dreamily adrift in washed out electric guitars and synths, ‘It’s easier to witness a crowd from up above’. The song feels as if temple is singing high above, in a stratosphere disconnected from the universe. ‘I Believe In Action’ is the fifth track and one of the (many) standouts. A monstrous guitar riff is played over sublime funk dance beats. This is a song Radiohead strive for. Each element of the song collide together forming a multi layered opus of contemporary sound. The song is the soundtrack to crazed dance floors, bedroom headphone listening and outdoor arenas and festivals. This is the peak of the powers between HWGM and Nigel Godrich; that unknown dimension of the ambiguous place is tapped into here. Sensational.

The slow-paced psychedelic bliss of ‘Over The Ocean’ starts the second half of ‘A Different Ship’. The song contains great songwriting lyrics from Temple, ‘Silver dots marking, endless horizon/over the ocean, we’ll have a vodka.’ The vocals of Temple sounds of ‘reflected voices’ over the ocean and can feel the ebb and flow of the ocean water drifting slowly in and out. ‘Made To Be Old’ has an infectious guitar line that could be Lower Dens or DIIV. Humour can be found in Temple’s lyric of ‘The Swedish know music but do they know mine?’ Layered backing harmonies and an expansive sonic palette flows gorgeously amidst Temple’s vocals.

‘How Do I Know’ is sublime sunshine guitar pop. This song should be on every worldwide radio station, banging out of the speakers for the whole world to hear. Temple sings ‘How do I know if I love you/How do I know if I know you’ over an insanely catchy guitar pop sound. ‘How Do I Know’ is a true pop gem. The tempo slows right down on the album’s penultimate track, ‘Miracle Of Mary’. The song is intimate and direct, ‘I believe in Mary/She’s good enough for me/In her simple service and her calm delivery/I think I smell roses but none that I can see’. The lyrics evoke rich imagery embedded in beauty. The album closer is the album’s title track. Heavy reverb and building guitars with several tempo shifts sees ‘A Different Ship’ come to a close. The song’s closing lyrics paints imagery that best describes ‘A Different Ship”s fulfilling sonic journey: ‘Falling now forever, one planet with no surface/Anything still solid till the molten core?’

 

‘A Different Ship’ is out now on Secretly Canadian.

Written by admin

September 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm

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