A Hand Through the Cellar Door

Luke Temple’s solo releases have often shared a strong familiarity with those of his more well-known project, Here We Go Magic. Both have that balance of lo-fi and synth-driven sounds, the bright, bleached-out sonic coloring of an overexposed photo. However, Temple’s newest, A Hand Through the Cellar Door, feels like a distinct solo effort, with Temple moving toward simple folk structures with only the smallest instrumental accents of light snare beats centering around finger-picked pitter-patter. Lyrically, Temple has honed his storytelling skills, straying further from fragmented lines and moving toward longer, more matter-of-fact narratives, such as the eerily building tales told through “Maryanne Was Quiet” and “The Case of Louis Warren.” There’s still some Here We Go Magic connection—Temple’s alternate take of the song “Ordinary Feeling” from the band’s 2015 release, Be Small, and “The Complicated Men of the 1940s,” which exhibits that familiar instrumental chugging. However, while his band might accomplish that with a synth, Temple’s solo arrangement keeps the tone natural with strings. Similar, but very much its own.