Here We Go Magic

The January EP

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Just less than a year on from Pigeons, a sophomore album that found Here We Go Magic simultaneously expanding their personnel, stylistic scope, and mainline indie rock critical profile, the Brooklyn quintet returned with the inexplicably titled January EP. (Perhaps they decided to split the difference between the May release date and the Halloween-ish cover art.) Pigeons already felt like a somewhat less than coherent grab bag of odds and ends, so the prospect of six holdovers from the time of its recording isn't overwhelmingly enticing. But January acquits itself surprisingly well, often offering a sharper sense of focus than its parent album. Not that anything here is a major departure from Pigeons' hazy, lazy psychedelia, but tunes like the gently pretty, Shins-ish "Hands in the Sky" and the jaunty, slightly goofy "Backwards Time" arguably boast sharper, clearer melodies than anything included there. The brightly woozy five-beat psych-popper "Tulip" and the gorgeously lilting "Song in Three" (which is actually in six) also manage to make more out of less, highlighting the band's gift for unobtrusively subtle rhythmic complexity, while the brief "Hollywood" is an enjoyably eerie bit of sparse, spectral choral folk. That leaves only one truly negligible cut, making this EP a definite keeper for fans and worth a listen for the curious. Even if the primary common characteristic of this stuff is how exceedingly pleasant it all is, there's always a place for that, regardless of what month it is.

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