Picture a hazy Glastonbury morning in June 2010. With most festivalgoers still asleep in their tents, the day’s music had already begun. Brooklyn favorite Here We Go Magic was playing to a sparse, bleary-eyed crowd when its members noticed a couple of listeners up front, the only two who were really rocking. Upon further examination, these guys turned out to be Thom Yorke (whose trademark wiggle must have been a giveaway) and Nigel Godrich.
Wowed by the band’s performance, Radiohead’s frontman and unofficial sixth member hooked up with the musicians after their set. That meeting led to Godrich producing Here We Go Magic’s latest record, A Different Ship—a big step for the melodic art-rockers, who’d previously produced themselves. It was a risk worth taking: From the nervous optimism of “How Do I Know” to the dreamy, spacious build on “Over the Ocean,” the new tracks are thick with moods, methods and cryptic layers just begging to be peeled away over copious listens.
The result is easily the band’s most riveting work yet, but don’t give Godrich all the credit. The seeds of an exciting record were already planted with 2011’s overlooked but gorgeous The January EP, which presaged the shimmering expansiveness heard on A Different Ship. No surprise, then, that Here We Go Magic, which earned a cult following for its off-the-cuff shows, is now touring the world and just scored an enviable slot opening for Andrew Bird. Next time the band plays Glastonbury, it’ll surely merit prime time.—Marley Lynch
Follow Marley Lynch on Twitter: @marleyasinbob