Be Small by Here We Go Magic Album Review
Be Small, New York indie rock band Here We Go Magic’s 4th studio album, is most defining of their function as musicians and real people, simultaneously, thus far. The band, usually a 5-piece, recorded the album over the course of a few years, following 2012’s critically acclaimed A Different Ship. Due to complications of distance and time within the band and its members, founder and lead singer Luke Temple as well as multi-instrumentalist Michael Bloch took initiative and created the record on their own. While A Different Ship was produced by Nigel Godrich, Radiohead’s long-term producer, whose attention was caught after their 2010 Glastonbury performance, Temple and Bloch self-produced Be Small.
Riding under the constraints of similarities to bands such as MGMT, Grizzly Bear, and Coldplay, Here We Go Magic have over the course of their discography curated their own sound, which is most prominent on Be Small. Most noted for their hazy and lucid sounds of synth and guitar paired with Luke Temple’s impeccable falsetto, Be Small is the most defining record of who Here We Go Magic really are. Opening with “Stella,” a fast-paced and funky 80’s ballad including a synth solo, instantly hooks attention. “Be Small”, title track of the album, is one of the most heavy-hitting. With lyrics such as “stay low to the ground” and “be small, just as you are,” Temple creates a sense of irony that entertains society’s desire to be the biggest and best in all that we do. “Maybe [the record] is sort of a commentary on opulence, the destructive nature of greed and wanting more and selfish desire. As a destructive force in the world…”, says Temple. Many of the themes on the record also derive from Temple quitting alcohol for good, despite not having a serious problem with it to begin with. While the songs aren’t equated exactly with Temple’s experience with alcohol, but could be in a loose sense.
The entire album introduces new sounds and exemplifies Here We Go Magic’s confidence in trying new things to create their own signature sound, and it’s worked in their favor. “Tokyo London US Korea” is another fast-paced and catchy melody with a repetitive chorus that does the song a simple justice. The album closes out with “Dancing World,” a slow and synth-driven ballad that brings the album full circle and ends in a simple yet effective manner. Be Small is an album that hits heavy.