Friday, July 16, 2010

Here We Go Magic - Pigeons

Luke Temple has undergone enough artistic transformations in the last few years that it's becoming more and more difficult to identify any singular trait that holds his work together.  Initially making his living painting murals, he began dabbling in music for more than a decade ago and has received praise from the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Ben Gibbard.  The most salient trait on his two albums released as a solo artist was his uncanny ability to carry a song along through the potency of his own Paul Simonesque nasally voice. On these early home-recored records, his vibrant melodies were a welcome contrast to his sporadic choice of arrangements and jerky rhythms.  Since then, he's put together a band using the forgettable moniker Here We Go Magic.

While Temple seems to have embraced all the sonic possibilities that working with other musicians can give, there still remains a highly personal quality in how he attacks the self-made boundaries within each arrangement.  It almost as if these antsy shifts, which are especially conspicuous throughout this latest record, were the catalyst of some sort of underlying restlessness which doesn't allow any enjoyable moment to last too long.  Not to say that Pigeons doesn't have it fair share of fun moments, it just doesn't leave the listener with much to hold on to.  Apart from the excellent single "Collector", it lacks the same effusive charms found on the band's debut LP.  This lack of congruency seems to lie in that the album is constantly crossing between the two contradictory extremes of wild chamber pop and lumbering ballads which at times can be frankly boring.  There are still however more than enough moments of swirly bliss, like on the Talking-Heads-inspired "Old World United", to redeem its numerous lapses.  It's undoubtedly commendatory that such an artist would abandon their comfortable origins and plunge themselves into new territory despite the risk of making a few missteps along the way.

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