Here We Go Magic reemerged a couple of weeks ago and it seems they’ve been hitting the gym since their last record – slimming down from a five piece to a duo. It is only fitting that the band, now consisting solely of Luke Temple and Michael Bloch, titled their new album Be Small.
You may know Here We Go Magic from their extensive touring history, opening for big name acts like The Walkmen and Grizzly Bear. Or perhaps you know their most popular song “How Do I Know” off their critically acclaimed 2012 record A Different Ship?
Be Small opens with an “Intro.” So does A Different Ship. However, the two records don’t have much in common when you get past the first 30 seconds. Inspired by Brian Eno and John Cale’s collaborative album Wrong Way Up, Be Small is a mess of genres. But it’s a welcomed mess, one that makes the whole record feel familiar and comfortable. The album is a true hybrid, with each song tapping into the realms of Prog-rock, Soul, Electronic, Americana, and of course Indie rock.
The true opener of the album, “Stella” begins with a psychedelic looping synthesizer riff bouncing back and forth through your brain, and gradually layers on soaring lead synth, vocals, and plentiful pads. Although it lacks a traditional chorus, it builds energy throughout and is a song that immediately demands your attention.
The band then jumps into the title track “Be Small.” Again eschewing the use of a traditional verse-chorus-verse structure, Here We Go Magic here leaves the electro-pop stylings of “Stella” behind for a unique blend of the lush chordal orchestrations from bands such as Earth Wind and Fire with the earthy approachability of CSNY. As Temple advises the listener “stay low to the ground,” it’s clear that Here We Go Magic is looking backwards for inspiration while striving forward towards new uncharted sounds.
Every song on this album has its merits, but “Tokyo London US Korea” strikes us as being particularly noteworthy, drawing on Steve Reich-esque layered rhythmic patterns while somehow including the earthen tones Here We Go Magic is known for. Some may find the title combined with the constantly shifting rhythm a bit too on-the-nose. But we find the approach refreshing and unique. Much like the album itself.
Find yourself a good pair of headphones, and listen to Be Small today.