CD Review: Here We Go Magic’s “Pigeons”

Here We Go Magic Pigeons
Secretly Canadian / Western Vinyl (June 8, 2010)
Review by Adam Perry for the East Bay Express

Whereas groups such as Midlake and Animal Collective have recently proved to the sometimes stuffy indie-rock world that having gone to music school isn’t necessarily a cardinal sin, Brooklyn’s Here We Go Magic—with lyrics like “I want to be a sunset”—harkens back to the days when David Byrne and other art school veterans made rock n’ roll simultaneously sophisticated and bursting with fun.

“Collector,” the upbeat second track on the band’s new Pigeons LP, features churning lo-fi cascades of bouncy psychedelia reminiscent of Neu! and the Feelies; but the glue that keeps Here We Go Magic together is front-man/mastermind Luke Temple’s unmistakably Graham Nash-esque vocals. An alumnus of Boston’s School of the Fine Arts, Temple had success as a mural painter and singer-songwriter previous to officially dubbing his new outfit Here We Go Magic last year. Its eponymous 2009 release was really a Luke Temple solo project, but Pigeons is the manifestation of Temple’s intellectual art-folk and the full band’s powerful dreamscapes, which alternate between the aforementioned charging shimmers; mellow, lush ’60s psychedelia that gradually explodes; and polyrhythmic experiments that wouldn’t sound out of place on Andrew Bird’s Useless Creatures.

Pigeons tracks like “Bottom Feeder” also showcase Temple’s more expressly alt-folk singer-songwriter side, but the freak-pop standouts “Casual,” “Moon” and “Collector,” which will be no doubt be blasting at scenester dance parties all summer, are what impressively define Here We Go Magic. “Collector,” with its melt-up surge of addictive ’80s beats underneath the madcap repetition of “I’ve got a mild fascination,” is for 2010 what Animal Collective’s loveably ubiquitous “Girls” was for 2009: The Afro-beat-influenced song was already named Best New Music by Pitchfork and has been regularly featured on NPR. This is a band you should probably be hurrying to enjoy before we’re all complaining about its inescapable prevalence.

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