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Here We Go Magic – A Different Ship album review

In Here We Go Magic‘s latest album, A Different Ship, singer/songwriter Luke Temple poses a lot of tough questions. An album saturated in ideas of self-doubt and at times bipolar ramblings, A Different Ship’s thematic display of uncertainty weaves itself endlessly throughout the recording.

After a brief percussional intro reminiscent of a sampling from the Broadway production of Stomp, Temple bemoans the difficulties of commitment in “Hard To Be Close,” a song that features some of the songwriter’s best vocal work on the album. In “Make Up Your Mind,” a maniacal, psychedelic shuffle, Temple’s characteristically lyrical voice has a banging-your-head-against-the-wall feel. At the same time, Jennifer Turner’s rolling bass line propels the song into orbit flawlessly; a consistency throughout the album that is hard to ignore.

Here We Go Magic is clearly influenced by spacey rock cadets Radiohead. Temple’s voice and style, to his betterment, sounds like a mix between Thom Yorke and Ray Davies (The Kinks.) But just as Yorke’s unpredictable genius settles for moments of clarity inside a maddening mess, Temple too has the ability to find that harmonious balance. This is clearly evident in “Alone But Moving,” where the singer concedes to satisfaction temporarily.

“I Believe in Action,” a semi-droning, one dimensional tune, brings back the lo-fi sound that typified the band’s previous albums. Not as prevalent on this album, however, is the much present synthesized sound that helped shape 2010’s Pigeons. The final song on the album, which also happens to be the title track, clocks in at over eight minutes, the latter half of the song completely ambient noise. This is a fitting end for an album steeped in hesitation and uncertainty.

A Different Ship has an atmospheric quality that, at times, evokes visually as well as aurally. Yet for some reason, the album as a whole feels incomplete. For all his efforts to seek balance in life’s dilemmas, Temple is left in the end with more unanswered questions than he began with.

By Travis Sandoval

Life-long Wisconsinite who has recently made a nest for himself in Portland, Oregon. When not quaffing incredible brew and going to every concert he can, he dreams of Green Bay Packer Super Bowl victories and longs for the day of a return visit to Lambeau Field.

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