Undoubtedly one of 2014’s hottest prospects, UK band Temples seemingly have the musical world in their palms. Cumulating a sizable amount of hype in the short space of time since their birth in 2012, they soon had famous tongues wagging as Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher have both announced Temples as the ‘best new band in Britain’. Based in a small English town called Kettering, Temples’ debut release was highly anticipated and boy oh boy does Sun Structures deliver.
It’s hard to just simply describe the exact nature of Temples’ overall sound. The ’60’s revivalist’ tag is a tad unfair, as some may scoff that a band of twenty-somethings couldn’t possibly know a dime about the 1960’s. But such is the society that we live in that music of all ages is easily accessible and as a result bands are finding influences from all over.
The opening track for Sun Structures, “Shelter Song” wastes little time in setting the tone as the chromatic guitar intro jingles and jangles leading into the first verse. It’s hip and it’s groovy and frankly it’s a sound that you’d expect from a band old beyond their years, much less from ‘a band of twenty-somethings’. “Keep In The Dark” starts with a blues-style rumbling bass and drum rhythm and the repeated line ‘keep in the dark just to stay out the light’. It’s almost as if a time warp opens up and you’re transported back to a very muddy Saturday afternoon at Woodstock 1969. The effects-laden “Mesmerise” does exactly that, creating a splash and whirl of colour and sound.
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There’s just something so effortlessly savvy about James Edward Bagshaw’s vocal delivery throughout Sun Structures. He holds a certain kind of charm and style with each word, for instance the way he sings the opening line in “The Golden Throne” – ‘a friend is more than a companion, a foe is less than that to me’ – It’s so smooth he could almost be humming the words. It’s also worth pointing out that the vocals exist only to add a layer to the music as opposed to simply running alongside it. Vocals and music share the same aural space, coexisting as one and the same.
The same has to be said for the rest of the band – bassist Thomas Edison Walmsley, keyboardist Adam Smith and drummer Sam Toms – who between the three of them successfully fill the musical spectrum on Sun Structures. Even down to the backing ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ it’s all done to accompany and carry rather than just for show. “Sand Dance” has a very Eastern feel to it, like an Arabic musician traded his Oud with an electric guitar and an effects pedal. It’s also the album’s longest track clocking in at over 6 and a half minutes. That said, there are only four songs which are sub-four minutes.
Sun Structures is a super impressive debut album. Sure, corporeally it’s 12 songs ,but on a more ethereal, spiritual plane it’s a cloud of infinite noises and waves. Each wave crashing into the next almost seamlessly, creating something that you simply cannot skip at any moment. It’s is akin to that of watching every Austin Powers movie back to back. It’s cool and it’s a heap load of fun.Temples are an insanely talented band that have occupied an unusual musical niche, but one that they seem to fit perfectly. They are a band that will only get bigger and I for one can’t envisage anything or anyone stopping them.
Most impressively of all though, is how I managed to get through this entire review without mentioning the word ‘psychedelic’. Not even once.