Search The Line of Best Fit
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Here We Go Magic – Pigeons
18 June 2010, 14:00 Written by Erik Thompson

For those of you still hypnotized by the subtle solemnity of Here We Go Magic‘s debut, their new record Pigeons will prove to be quite a jarring wake up call. Luke Temple has come out of his laboratory clearly under the influence of the sweeping synthesized sound of Krautrock, and formed a five-piece band to help him fully realize his blissful, indie-pop visions. It’s a much more collaborative, expansive album, with crisp production featuring swelling layers of whispered melodies and driving, unconventional rhythms intertwined with Temple’s discontented, stream-of-consciousness tales of frustration and regret. It’s clearly a bold step forward from Temple’s singular bedroom musings to a more robust sounding ensemble, and while that integrated approach works on a majority of the new tracks, some of the mystery and charm of the debut is lost for the sake of a grander design.

Opener ‘Hibernation’ lets you know straight away that Pigeons isn’t going to be the same grainy, four-track sonic experiment of the debut, with clear, funky keys colouring the restless track and getting the record off to a strong, if unexpected, start. The music community has had a few months to process the swirling majesty of ‘Collector,’ and even after spending that much time with the song, it’s still difficult to get my head around everything that’s happening in the track. It’s such a full-scale departure from anything else in Temple’s catalog, but still maintains the magnetic, entrancing quality that makes his music so intriguing, just with a pulsing new-wave twist that is as refreshing as it is startling, considering the source.

As is the case with many tracks from Here We Go Magic, there is plenty of room to get lost within the mesmerizing melodies and cascading keyboards, which serves as both an asset and a liability to their songs; for while it’s pleasant to become so immersed in the strains of the music that your surroundings gradually fade away, the songs themselves are often too fluid and diaphanous to make a lasting, distinctive impression on the listener, creating a fleeting feeling that fades as soon as the next song plays. The middle and the end of Pigeons audibly reflects this concern, and while none of the songs are unpleasant listens, none of them are all that memorable, either.

Luckily, the dreamy wistfullness of ‘Surprise,’ and ‘Land Of Feeling,’ prove to be quite indelible, as well as the animated, calliope stomp of ‘Old World United,’ which shakes things up enough to save this record from floating too far adrift. But the last two, wildly experimental songs on the album are proof positive that Temple hasn’t quite left his bedroom sonic tinkering behind him, with mixed results. Hopefully, once Here We Go Magic settle into the idea that they are a full band and not simply the extension of one man’s unconventional vision, more productive and original songs will materialize. There are glimpses of that gradual apotheosis threaded throughout Pigeons, but Here We Go Magic’s story remains only half-told at this point, awaiting a finish worthy of its inspired origins.

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