Despite its tendency to slip into a haze of sonic abstraction, Pigeons, the second album from Brooklyn quintet Here We Go Magic, is an exciting record. It’s a noisy romp, continuing and yet diverging from the musical experimentation of the band’s self-titled 2009 debut. While it could use a little more polish and structure, Pigeons is a solid album, full of chromatic synth melodies and dreamy pop.
“Collector,” layered with bright instrumentation and two-part harmonies, exhibits the band’s talent for engaging songwriting and catchy hooks. Luke Temple’s soft vocals complement the subtle baroque complexity of Pigeons, melding into the sea of guitars, synths, bass, and percussion. The mellow melodies of “Casual” and tumbleweed bass/drums combo on “Surprise” are reminders that Here We Go Magic are a multifaceted band, dipping into several genres and styles to craft something novel.
“Bottom Feeder” is another of the album’s surprises—a moment of clarity in the midst of the album, a lull in the dreamy psychedelic noise. The country-blues waltz is warm and slow, building off the timeless staples of acoustic guitar and a descending baseline. But Here We Go Magic quickly return to their spacey sonic atmosphere with “Moon,” where notes echo and bounce over the aerial effects and Temple’s nebulous vocals.
And after all, Here We Go Magic are still experimenting, combining stylistic elements and quirks to create a distinctive sound. The strangeness of the percussive tribal melodies on “Vegetable or Native” and “Herbie I Love You, Now I Know” serve as reminders that Pigeons could use some refining. But maybe that roughness around the edges is just what makes Here We Go Magic so charming.