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Here We Go Magic – A Different Ship April 26, 2012

Posted by gwyoung in Album Reviews, Music.
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Artist: Here We Go Magic

Album: A Different Ship

Release: Secretly Canadian, 2012

Genre: Rock

RIYD: Paul Simon, Talking Heads, The Sea And Cake

Here We Go Magic’s albums up to this point, including their self-titled debut and 2010’s Pigeons, have consisted of a variety of disparate styles and sonic experiments ranging from psychedelic folk to krautrock to ambient noise. While those albums had some excellent tracks (see “Collector” and “Only Pieces”), most of those gems were buried between heaps of all-over-the-place songs that were relatively unlistenable. The appropriately-titled A Different Ship, however, is a horse of a completely different color. Here it seems as if Luke Temple has abandoned his experiments in favor of creating a consistent record of simple, powerful rock songs, and the result is something that exceeds anything we could’ve expected after our few tastes of this band’s greatness.

Whether it’s because of the solid songwriting and steady flow between the tracks or if its due to the various stylistic influences that Temple & co. have finally made their own, there’s something about A Different Ship that makes it feel like an instant classic. The album wouldn’t be too out of place in the 60s or 70s, as its lazy psychedelic folk-rock qualities evoke memories of The Byrds in tracks like “Made To Be Old”, Paul Simon in “Miracle Of Mary” and the stellar “How Do I Know”, and even Talking Heads in lead single “Make Up Your Mind”. These stylistic choices were hinted at on the whimsical January EP released back in 2011, but nothing could have prepared us listeners for this next step in Here We Go Magic’s career. The sense of musical restraint and the polish in Temple’s vocals and lyrics also show a giant leap forward in maturity for the group, and while their playful vibrance still appears in the swirling electronic echoes and harmonies, it takes a backseat to the more direct human qualities imbued in the album’s warmth.

After hearing A Different Ship for the first time, Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold stated that he felt “humbled” by it, and I can understand why. Unlike most of its contemporaries, Here We Go Magic’s latest appears to transcend the musical culture that birthed it. While most music today is a product of the ever-changing popular trends, A Different Ship was birthed from a much larger time scale: the album is a gorgeous fermentation of styles from the past fifty years, reminding us that it’s not just electronic gimmicks and studio wizardry that make music so pleasing to hear.

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1. Conveyor – Conveyor « safer in the dark - July 24, 2012

[…] Centipede Hz. Combined with all of the other excellent follow-ups from Grimes, Ramona Falls, Here We Go Magic, Liars, and Fiona Apple, it seems like 2012 is more of a year for already-popular artists […]

2. The Top 20 Musical Releases of 2012 « safer in the dark - December 19, 2012

[…] mentioned in my lengthy review of A Different Ship that it felt like an instant classic, though I mostly cited its Talking Heads […]


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