Here We Go Magic: A Different Ship

“With A Different Ship, Here We Go Magic has clearly and undeniably arrived at the port of entry to indie rock’s pantheon of top shelf acts – an utterly shattering release that anyone who likes forward-thinking music must have. 9/10”—Pop Matters

“It’s an impeccably polished and careful record. But like a shirt buttoned all the way up to the neck, sophistication can wear a guy out. Whatever rough edges the band naturally cultivated on their first two albums have been neatly shaved off and sanded down with the help of producer Nigel Godrich, who makes everything sound vacuum-packed and expensive. 6.3/10”—Pitchfork

F*&k Pitchfork. This is an impeccable album with wildly creative songs that stick in your head for days and demands repeat listening sessions. And just because ubber producer Nigel Godrich produced the damn thing doesn’t mean you need to compare it to Radiohead. The fact is A Different Ship is a better record (by a mile) than anything Radiohead has produced since 2003’s Hail To The Thief. Yes, better than In Rainbows and far better than The King Of Limbs. And, aside from a couple of scratchy, twitchy rhythms here and there, the comparisons are totally bogus. This is an unpretentious arty pop album whereas those last two Radiohead albums were simply pretentious. Radiohead, unless they switch gears fast, are in massive danger of turning into U2 or, more ominously, Coldplay. Here We Go Magic are poised to take their place as one of the most important bands in the world if they can capitalize and build on what they’ve accomplished with A Different Ship. There’s evidence of Krautrock, a little Paul Simon, a little Devo and some Talking Heads in evidence, but it sounds totally unique. More ambient songs sit comfortably and naturally beside the more up tempo numbers, and the record flows by in what seems like a matter of minutes, and by the time you’re done you just want to start it all over again. A very special album, this.

At the time I compiled my “Best Of 2012…so far” list back in June I had purchased the album but not listened to it yet, so it didn’t make the list, obviously, and wasn’t ranked. I also said that it would be a pretty safe bet that no album released in the later half of 2012 would be able to knock Spiritualized’s Sweet Heart Sweet Light off it’s #1 pedestal. I may have to eat a little crow, ‘cause this one has entered the top 3 and is rapidly becoming the most listened to album of the year for me here. It’s rare you find an album that makes you want to rush out and listen to everything they’ve done; A Different Ship makes me want to do just that.

Strum along opener Hard To Be Close is a terrific and very unexpected opener, setting the stage for a very smooth and MOR song set to follow. But that’s a big fat lie, thankfully. The following song, Make Up Your Mind is a jittery future-funk jam number with some very appropriate synth washes, and ends abruptly as if the tape broke in the studio. I could’ve listened to 5 more minutes of this one. Alone But Moving brings things back down to earth and is one of the more affecting pieces on the album, and one of the most talked about in reviews. Great expressive vocals. I Believe In Action is the sound of hyperactivity, and How Do I Know is just one of the best singles of the year. The album ends with the longish and quite ambient title track, that sounds like Brian Eno commandeered the boards, just for the fun of it.

Pigeons, HWGM’s 2nd proper album and first as a full band (it was pretty much only one guy in his bedroom with a computer for the self-titled debut), is also pretty special. It’s weirder than A Different Ship, but….man it’s good. Collector is one of the best songs I’ve heard in ages. Totally addicting.

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