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Here We Go Magic
Here We Go Magic Alex Denney , July 2nd, 2009 07:54

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Luke Temple is a twenty-something fine arts graduate with a slim solo back catalogue and a day job painting cherubic frescoes on the ceilings of the NYC rich. With fans in high places like Sufjan Stevens and Grizzly Bear, Temple hatched his celestial Here We Go Magic project as a way of dodging the irksome singer-songwriter epithet, and the results on this self-titled debut are frequently just a whisker shy of being divine.

The first half of ...Magic positively crackles with understated ambition. It's the sort of lo-fi production that doesn't only make the best of the meagre trappings which no doubt spawned it, or even celebrate its shonkiness by having everything cranked way up and front-facing. Rather, Temple sounds like one of those artists for whom the hiss of the tape reel is the wispy, fleeting stuff of life itself, and proceeds to swathe his music in a breathy, burnished glow.

'Tunnelvision' was the track first piquing the interest of the blogs late last year and it's a curious beast at that. Sounding like Bon Iver covering Gomez with a Steve Reich choir burbling monomaniacally away in the background, it should be horrible but radiates a queer magnetism, Temple creating a hypnotic wall of sound with little more than a backwards-sounding chord sequence, a discordant note played on an acoustic and his own winsome falsetto.

Cass McCombs or Papercuts' soft psych/folk leanings provide natural enough points of reference, but the looped aesthetic traced by early Animal Collective recordings is also in evidence here, with Temple suggesting not strange rituals under the glare of the campfire but the sleepy-head solipsism of one spending unhealthy amounts of time locked away in a bedroom with only a bunch of records for company. As such, Graceland gets a dusting down on the sultry, circling 'Only Pieces', and 'Ahab' jams daydreamily along with countless old psychedelic funk 45s.

'Tunnelvision''s next up, after which things take a slightly underwhelming turn for the ambient. Then 'Everything's Big' rounds out proceedings with a jaunty slice of pop for piano and organ, sounding like an outtake from Department of Eagles' recent In Ear Park¬ release, but it feels somehow misplaced. There isn't a duff moment on ...Magic exactly, but it's the opening salvo, with its lingering impression of small ideas stretched gauzily out, that really sings like firing synapses and leaves you wanting more.

Neil Major
Jul 2, 2009 10:39pm

I can't believe you wrote that without mentioning the best track on the album - Fangela. Also, didn't this come out months ago? Why did you sleep on it for so long?

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John Doran
Jul 3, 2009 10:24am

Because we're all lazy bastards.

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Luke Turner
Jul 3, 2009 11:09am

I think it only just had its proper release in the UK. I always like to sleep on American indie bands. It incites tumescence.

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