Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
It could be said that in nearly every instant of a Luke Temple-penned song, there's some great connection to his mild fascinations of human temperature and extensive fragility, all of which are engaging passages into the mirrored rooms of dappled hearts and absorbent heads that can't help themselves from revolving and prowling and slinking. The places that the New Yorker, and arguably one of the finest young songwriters working, takes listeners are places that they would never venture to on their own, with their faculties intact, with half a mind because before they would know it, their solitude or whatever they had going for them at the onset would be quickly bewildered and deviled up with a feast of tormented benedictions to our common plights. We join him in his efforts, on his unearthings, where the things that he pulls from the ground, like carrots and potatoes are often surprising and near immaculate. The songs that he's made under his own name - heard and unheard - and those that are now thankfully catching the wind and getting their due thanks to media praise, an awakening and loving fans in Team Grizzly Bear - are explorations, real explorations into the psyche and all of the charming and disquieting waters that splash actively inside all bodies. While they may be his (should we call them demons, nightmares, hopes, fears, anxieties, passions?), they are not really assigned to anyone specifically, but pruned from a universal growth and transplanted into other potting soils to become a harvest of interchangeable appreciations and people. We're all with him throughout the spidery caverns and warm vibrations of his new ruminations, on the self-titled Here We Go Magic debut, again one of the year's early bests, with rich and earnest tacklings of mortality and the trappings of endless nights full of more noise than anyone can sleep through battling with more silence than anyone could sleep through, giving the songs unique dispositions of terrific waywardness that summarizes perfectly the distraught complications that Temple is wonderfully obsessed with. He sings, "What's the use in dying, dying, if I cannot see," on "Only Pieces," the lead-off track on the album and it's a study in thinking about the worms, thinking about the wrong side of a coffin's lid and what all of that is going to mean when the time comes. It has a feel of the cremated ashes of an old body strewn about the breezes already, dancing over grass blades and ramming into trees, disintegrating into lakes along the way, but generally still traveling as long as there's room to travel - a contrast to what the words are actually asking, pleading for. It's a boil down of the "why are me hear" problem that all want to ask and have answered, but that's essentially the most serious mind fuck that's ever been. It's all the terror that a man needs - that idea of not having purpose and also of not having the ability to conquer that eventual disruption that perils sight and movement, that terminates the need even for having thoughts so human and important. Temple has made a young career of finding startlingly beautiful new ways to crack the nuts of those destructive inner voices that tell the sour nothings and hold all of the sweet nothings for the afterlife or whatever that blankness might turn out to be. And though that's true, he's simultaneously finding ways to insist - to himself and to the stubborn bleating and blaring of the red flares behind his eyes and temples - that there just has to be a reason for all of the sweat and for all the hardship.