Five-piece indie band Here We Go Magic is perhaps the poster child for bedroom music, as the group’s self-titled debut was quite literally recorded at home on an old four-track recorder. As evidenced by standout tracks like “Tunnelvision,” the synthy, dreamy album captured a rich sound with very little bluster, effectively lulling and beguiling listeners with quiet, acoustic-driven psychedelia. Its 2010 follow-up, Pigeons, continued with the same engrossing, lo-fi whimsy, and The January EP manages to stay true to Here We Go Magic’s mastery of pensive immediacy. The band smartly mines the depths of its sound without over-expanding or violating the intimacy it’s so carefully crafted in the past, straddling the line between pop accessibility and the dense, layered allure of the bedroom genre. With The January EP, Here We Go Magic has found a way to mature their sound without abandoning its core elements.
“Hollywood” is a soft, haunting, one-refrain song that’s purposefully pieced together second by second with folksy acoustic guitar plucks, tormented vocal cascades, and buzzing ambience. Voice cry, “Hollywood is real,” as the sounds of electronic humming and organic instrumentation collide beautifully. The track is undoubtedly the EP’s high point—a two-minute offering that stands as a perfect summation of Here We Go Magic’s artful introspection and degraded production values.
The rest of The January EP never quite tops “Hollywood,” but plenty of quality moments lay hidden among its winding, otherworldly tracks. Frontman Luke Temple brings a sensitive folk voice to “Hands in the Sky,” a whirling song evocative of Hail to the Thief-era Radiohead, while “Mirror Me” is a clash of wailing guitar and percussion swirling storm-like around Temple’s pained deliberations.
If nothing else, The January EP proves that the guys of Here We Go Magic are masters at creating highly emotive songs from an assortment of small and sometimes non-musical sounds, from the resonance of guitar strings and distant, diminutive vocals to the oscillating buzz of amp wires and tape machines. The band’s resultant sound is warm, intricate, and stirring, all without the use of hackneyed, anthemic pop fallbacks.