Formerly the project of Luke Temple, Brooklyn’s Here We Go Magic has now expanded into a five-piece, and since signing to record label Secretly Canadian just a year ago they have gone on to tour with the likes of Grizzly Bear and The Walkmen, as well as receiving praise from none other than Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, who stated of their Glastonbury performance, that it was the best thing he’d witnessed all weekend.
Their sound doesn’t lie in any one genre, and neither do their influences, they rather provide a mesmerising kaleidoscope of sound that spiels endless loops and intricate turns. Watching their performance at End of the Road festival they essentially turned the whole set into a 60 minute uninterrupted piece: sound art. It’s the kind of music to really lose yourself to, if you are willing, and witnessing it live is really the best way to approach this.
Opening up with a quote of praise from Yorke seemed the best way to begin proceedings and the five members appeared genuinely surprised that these compliments had reached ears besides their own. “Where did you hear that?”, they asked curious and excited and for a moment I wondered whether they even knew the story themselves. Lead singer Temple informed me that they had played an early slot that day: “[At] Glastonbury there [seems to be a] kind of a drug vibe, everyone was just kind of staring at us like zombies but we noticed two guys who were really into it and it turns out one of them was Thom Yorke.”
Any question of the influence of Radiohead and Thom Yorke immediately felt redundant yet at the same time essential to ask, and HWGM’s drummer Peter Hale told me that “we’re more inspired by their sense of recreation” than the music itself. “We’ve never tried to emulate things that we like…” A fair statement, and one which the band clearly exhibit themselves, with their beginnings as the folk outlet of Luke Temple before a transformation into the colourful, acid pop psychedelia they present onstage.
Pigeons, 2010’s follow up to the self-titled 2009 debut release Here We Go Magic, has, with repeated listens undressed itself as a sound constantly renewed as its subtle layerings expose themselves. It is a carefully crafted and stitched together piece of work as are their live performances which incidentally got the most recent recruit, bassist Jennifer, excited by the band, an excitement she still retains. “They’re still my favourite band of the past three years”, she states, telling me that she attended shows of HWGM before befriending its members and then becoming a staple player herself.
With such infectious interaction on stage and pride in their musical projects it matters not that the interaction with the crowd is minimal, if it were not it would in a sense detract from the journey on which you are being taken. There isn’t the slightest trace of disconnection between the audience before them, whether familiar with the music or not.
With Here We Go Magic, the music paints the colours and tells the words pitch-perfectly, their “sonic complexities” as a band making for an aural experience, and a sense of synesthesia that allows you to hear colours and see sounds. The choice to follow them down the rabbit hole is ultimately yours, but they open that colourful portal for you, and like magic, we can’t help but fall right in.
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