Here We Go Magic takes a trip down the rabbit hole

Luke Temple (jack of all trades for Here We Go Magic) made his name by recording albums in his bedroom, playing all the instruments, singing all the parts, and pretty much doing whatever he wanted. So naturally when you hear that the guy has a new project out you think, “oh, he must have formed or joined a band and is trying out new musical adventures.” Not exactly.
On Here We Go Magic’s self-titled debut, Luke Temple wrote, performed and recorded eight of the nine tracks, probably in a home studio. The other track was still written and recorded by Temple but features piano, drums, bass and guitar all by fellow musicians. It is also, conveniently enough, the last song.
Temple’s solo work was a bizarre construct of folk and eerie psychedelia. His first album was a pretty straightforward folk record where his second began to delve into experimentations with strange noises and instruments. Here We Go Magic is the next evolutionary step. Almost all semblance of his finger plucking folk ditties are gone and replaced by eddies of psychedelic transparencies and hypnotic vocals.
The opening song “Only Pieces” is the beginning of a strange Alice in Wonderland-like journey. It starts off with a subliminal percussion line, slowly building precedence until Temple’s helplessly optimistic vocals begin, as he sings, “What’s the use in dying, dying/if I don’t know when/what’s the use in trying dying/if I don’t know when.” The song is a rune, conjuring up images of billowing bonfires and tribal dances, like Temple is the leader of a cult, directing his minions in an animalistic but joyous bacchanalian.
“Fangela,” the second song, really brings things into focus. It’s infectious and bright amidst its kaleidoscope instrumentation and clangor percussion. “Tunnelvision” has the same qualities. It’s not as claustrophobic as its title might suggest, though feeling somewhat constrained at first, it’s like a peaceful tornado with its calm guitar strum and Temple’s soaring vocals swooning about.
After “Tunnelvision” is when the magic starts unraveling and you really begin tumbling down the rabbit hole. “Ghost List” is really just a rising tide of noise. “I Just Want To See You Underwater” has Temple’s vocal rounds gargled under a frenzied, murky din. The album proceeds into electro-acoustic territory with transient tracks akin to early Animal Collective experiments. “Baby oh baby I just cant stand it any more” sounds like a “Sounds of Nature” recording designed for robots.
But in the end once the dizzying lethargy has run its course, Temple returns with a full band for the closing song “Everything’s Big.” It’s easily the least weird song on the album and by the time you get to this song, you realize the journey is over and you’ve returned to reality, trying to piece together the weird and at times perplexing, but wonderfully magical experience that you’ve just gone through.