Music Reviews
A Different Ship

Here We Go Magic A Different Ship

(Secretly Canadian) Buy it from Insound Rating - 8/10

As the crowd hung reproachfully from their languid skeletons it seemed as though this would pass, for the band, like some spurious road sign to somewhere they would never know. At the front of the stage, however, among the deadpan hippy-freaks and wild children, two figures announced themselves, unknowingly to the band, with their enthusiasm: they happened to be Thom Yorke (Radiohead) and Nigel Godrich (Producer).

Yorke, apparently, had been an admirer for some time and introduced Godrich to the band. Following subsequent meetings at different gigs, Godrich proposed to assist the band with producing their new record, one which hadn’t yet been imagined until this encounter. What has oozed from their collaboration, and which is a testiment to Godrich, is that the progression to A Different Ship seems wholly organic, intriguingly complex yet absolutely a true concoction of their folk and experimental elements.

It’s interesting to note that since the assembly of the ‘band’, Here We Go Magic, rather than the ‘Luke Temple and a four-track’ version, the relevant transition of his other-worldly synths into a more convincing barrage of ethereal pop has remained as translucent as ever. There may be more warmth and vibrancy to the tones but they remain, along with his mindful song-writing, the arterial framework through which the sound of Here We Go Magic flows. A distinct and undeniable hue has been imbedded into the sound with the addition of band members, which was perhaps inevitable and obvious, however, their specific contributions could not have been so easily predicted.

Out of the ship building, blurred rhythm of the Intro comes Hard To Be Close. Temple’s immaculate and dainty melody, harmonised by a simple acoustic rhythm, holds its roots in the self-titled debut of Temple’s imagining. The difference here, in comparison, along with the eminent expansion, are seamless layers of groove which dance a folkie mist of intrepid intrigue beneath further delicate prattling waves. The nuances are subtle and patient in their demand for attention, which are all the more refreshing as they gently congeal, a sign of more to come.

Make Up Your Mind is under-pinned by this adherence to patience, allowing the energy to build from the funk-propelled mute guitar and meandering bass into progressive motifs which swell out of the ordinary into paradoxical murmurings. Subsequently, you are submerged beneath tumescent swells and the endless, desperate hooks of Alone But Moving. Temple’s lyrical posture has remained consistent in its guarded manner, which reduces itself into unconnected phrases and always has, disguising as much as it reveals; such as the verse melodies of Made To Be Old: Your making no difference, man/Your drawing no line/Mondays are better/The yahoo’s went home/Drinking the vintage sucker fish right from the bone.

I Believe In Action also exemplifies this with its signature phrase: Not moving does not mean you don’t move. There’s a reinvigoration of the bass into a writhing mass beneath the combusting synths and wicked hisses – the desperation of the aura could make you cry yourself into a confused euphoria. All of these elements coalesce towards something impending, something yet to come. There is a pleasing clash of genres anywhere between funk and folk, treading the layers of drum and bass while spanning cultural epochs at the same time. There is always, it seems, more.

And more, in the sense of textural richness; melodic prowess; and conceptual idioms – all of which are abundantly present on Over The Ocean. The sound is expansive and limitless, yet still assuredly purposeful. It isn’t an aimless foray into the production of sound, it’s a rather more focussed experience in which the ‘endless horizons’ concept of the title is exquisitely produced. It contains echoes of grandeur and disappointment along with bubbling accoutrements that induce feelings both sinister and ethereal.

Post-sombre-indulgence comes a laser-light of two-chord pop, with perfect melodies, simple bass and sizzling overtones" How do I know, if I know you. You’ve drawn that imaginary line, walking two steps behind. How do I know, if I know you. The concept is visionary and the arrangement is gracefully embellished with effulgent sparks that allow How Do I Know to surpass expectations and deliver pop music beyond previous means.

It is a manifestation of talent both productively and artistically. Nigel Godrich’s infusion into this record is as subtle as a breath of wind carrying upon it the seeds of life, and somehow, his presence is constant yet untraceable in many ways. A Different Ship is effectively the energy of a band whose vision for contemporary blankets of synthesisers and harmonisations along with rock and roll principles of groove and electronic aspects of conductive beats have been corralled under a single moniker upon which Luke Temple can do his thing. They haven’t torn loose in the most extreme terms, but under their own agenda they have expanded beyond their former selves to create a real record of substance. Yes, it has the undeniable single; but boy, the nine tracks either side of that are really something.