Here We Go Magic – A Different Ship

written by: May 3, 2012
Release Date: May 8th, 2012


Here We Go Magic’s A Different Ship is ten relatively simple indie rock songs that take the listener on an unexpected journey throughout different experiments and experimenting with different soundscapes of the genre. There are a few flavors that Here We Go Magic whip out to keep you guessing. During each transition from track to track one gets that feeling that they think they’ve heard it before and that they know what is going to happen next, but there are a few gems that will keep listeners pleasantly surprised.

The album starts with an ominous sounding little intro track that clocks in under a minute. It builds tension with pulsating drums and waves of sounds that sound like they’re coming from the inside of an industrial factory. then at the last second it all fades together and the sweet acoustic guitar hook and soothing vocal melody of “Hard to be Close” sweeps in and the listener feel safe again. Less than three minutes into the album and A Different Ship is already kind of messing with the listener’s head. To continue on this winding journey, there are subtle electric guitar notes that linger around in the background that act like the eerie tone in a horror film. These scream “Radiohead” during the more quiet moments of their later work like In Rainbows and Hail to the Thief. This likeness comes as no surprise, though, as Radiohead’s producer and so-called sixth member Nigel Godrich produced the album.

All the while this is happening the vocal melodies of “Hard to be Close” are sung in an extremely melodic and catchy manner that really make the tune feel like a love song in the vein of Band of Horses. This strange mix and constantly shifting balance between hi-fi Brooklyn-hipster-danceable-electronic-rock and the folk/country on A Different Ship is how the album keeps listeners on their toes. These songs at first feel unsettling, like a bad acid trip, but they’ll grow on listeners in an extremely addictive way. All the songs on A Different Ship sound unique. There aren’t many bands that could pull off a legitimately catchy hybrid folk-dance song like “Make Up Your Mind,” with its 80s synths and guitar licks that, if taken out of context, could be found in a porno, and make it feel natural.

“How Do I Know” is a fun little indie rock song with a very tinny and distorted two-chord guitar riff that repeats throughout the whole song and an extremely catchy vocal line that is literally dripping with influence from Band of Horses. This tune serves it’s purpose as the most up-beat song on the album.

The title track, and album closer, disguises itself as an eight-and-a-half-minute song, but right around five minutes it falls off into ambience and echoes for the next three minutes. The listener will keep waiting and waiting for a guitar riff, bass line, or drum beat to kick back in (similar to what Women did on Public Strain) because so much of the album was filled with surprises, but it never comes. However, the first half of the track is some of the the best material on the album. It has a churning and swirling flange guitar hook that gets knocked on its feet around the one minute mark and almost turns into a psychedelic waltz that give off vibes from The Cure around the Disintegration era.

The songs that take themselves into more unpredictable directions are the stronger ones. As such, the most disappointing part of this album isn’t that the weaker songs are bad, it’s that Here We Go Magic gave us this great taste of what kind of weird boundaries they can break, but then stray back to more conventional pop songs. “Alone But Moving” and “Over the Ocean” are slow moving and don’t capture the multiple personality disorder that the other songs on the album have.

Overall, A Different Ship is a small, but very controlled experiment between a few genres that normally wouldn’t be put together. The band is best when it takes chances and though there isn’t a clear direction on this release, it is well worth hearing.

Here We Go Magic – A Different Ship tracklist:

  1.  “Intro”
  2. “Hard to Be Close”
  3. “Make Up Your Mind”
  4. “Alone But Moving”
  5. “I Believe in Action”
  6. “Over the Ocean”
  7. “Made to Be Old”
  8. “How Do I Know”
  9. “Miracle of Mary”
  10. “A Different Ship”