When Here We Go Magic first jumped onto the scene, it was clear that the work was mostly done by Luke Temple. But, through two albums it has become clear that the band’s blossomed into more of a group effort. So with their third proper release, A Different Ship, would the title indicate a final change in the music itself? The answer to that question can go both ways, and therein lays the problem.
“Hard to Be Close” is the first track, and while there’s that inherent beauty that you find in Here We Go Magic tracks, but it seems rather subdued. The percussion is fitting and tight, as I expect from a group of this stature, but there’s not a whole lot else to the song; it’s missing that, oh how do you say, magic. They follow it up with “Make Up Your Mind,” a groovier number than the rest, yet still missing that extra bit of emphasis that early HWGM numbers like “Fangela” contained. It’s something that seems to be stuck in the overall emotion of A Different Ship.
Take, for instance, “I Believe in Action,” a song that definitely has a bit of a groove living within it, but for some reason, that sound is completely contained within, never being unleashed. Perhaps this is the sort of jam that unfolds before your eyes in the live setting (if you’re to go off the song’s ending), but the recording just doesn’t have a kick to it. In fact, there’s really not a kick to this entire affair; it’s a slow burner to say the least. I guess in my listening experience with the band this is the most subdued they’ve come across on record…and that might only be my perception. Still, Here We Go Magic do possess the craftsmanship to write upbeat tunes that catch your ear.
“How Do I Know” is the lone standout jam. From the moment Luke Temple sings, you get the feeling that he’s more passionate in this performance than he is on any of the other tracks within A Different Ship. Even the percussion seems a bit more pronounced on this one, giving a more vibrant mood to the listener. Honestly, this is the reason I adore the band as a whole, and I think I expected more gems like this one.
I know that bands are allowed to grow and progress throughout their careers, and that’s always appreciated, and in the very least, understood. Sometimes, however, a group can take it too far, and I feel as if that’s what Here We Go Magic did on A Different Ship. They took a turn in their recording that may sound cleaner than previous outings, but it left out some of the group’s strengths. If you’re looking for a calmer, steadier version of the band, you’ll probably find this meets your fancy, but if you’re a nostalgic fan of the group, you might be a little let down. Better luck next time.
Download:Here We Go Magic – Make Up Your Mind [MP3]