Riding The Chillwave
Brooklyn-based quintet Here We Go Magic returns this week with its third LP, A Different Ship, released on Secretly Canadian and produced by Nigel Godrich, who has worked with Radiohead, Beck, and REM, among others. Frontman Luke Temple leads the band on an ambient journey through psychedelic soundscapes, starting off the album with an introduction of mysteriously dissonant, jangling percussion.
A Different Ship shows the band experimenting with a variety of sounds and styles, starting with the opener “Hard to Be Close”, a folksy acoustic song with just a hint of sultry swing. Temple’s vocals have the delicacy and sweetness of Paul SImon’s tenor, smooth and supple. But the band quickly switches to “Make Up Your Mind” whose uptempo staccato guitar licks, slick synths, and tight drums sound much closer to energetic eletrco-pop. And, just as quickly, comes “Alone But Moving”; slow and pulsating with synths, ambling along as if taking a rest after the frenetic “Make Up Your Mind”. Along with “Over the Ocean” it shows the band exploring a chillwave sound – but that’s just one part of the journey on A Different Ship.
“I Believe in Action” is an energetic dance rock number with lo-fi synths giving it a psychedelic air and also the catchy electro-pop track “How Do I Know”. But Here We Go Magic is on a mission to experiment with sounds beyond the simple pop and rock repertoire. On “Miracle of Mary” the band combines warm guitar riffs with dissonant, spacey effects that (strangely) complement Temple’s dulcet tones. The title track resonates with psychedelic, distorted synths and layered vocals, unraveling and deconstructing to minimal percussion and slow guitar chords dripping with reverb before building up again. It’s a long, labyrinthine composition that keeps you guessing at each turn with each transition to a spacey bridge or slowly rising crescendo.
That song, along with the whole album, is full of experimentation, but it’s tightly and masterfully controlled and orchestrated: all of its sounds blended together to create something entirely new, unique, and- simply- different.