Commendations from Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher, labeling you as the best new band in Britain, surely is the dream? What a sign of approval. With names like that behind an act, you may as well give up listening to anything else.
In all honesty, Kettering’s Temples are a bit brilliant. They take ’60s psychedelia, ’70s prog. and indie-rock and smoosh them all together like a small child with a callous disregard for Playdough colour boundaries. It’s certainly a sound that sounds dated, and will appeal to the nostalgic in you – especially if you’re fond of The Beatles. But unlike Foxygen, who tried to recycle the past and ended up sounding a bit like a cover band populated by ageing fathers, Temples succeed in sounding fresh to death. Like Tame Impala or Pond ensure they don’t sound like Pink Floyd knock-offs, Temples are au courant. They siphon golden sugar from yesteryear and expertly fold in modern production values, dreamy floor-gazing elegance and a drop of Broadway musical chintz.
Some people, some fans, will be disappointed with Temples full-length debut, Sun Structures. There’s a lot of previously heard tracks on the record, some stretching back as far as the year of the band’s inception, 2012. Apparently there’s been a bit of a brouhaha surrounding the release date, as the label were keen to push back to 2014 but others felt last summer was more relevant. Regardless of the surrounding hubbub, especially for those not as intimately aware of Temples’ sonic offerings, Sun Structures is a bold, muscular record.
Foremost, it’s traipses you through a neo-psych wonderland, gripping your sweaty mit and lurching you into fantastical scenery (“Keep In The Dark”) or into sheer bewildering, hippy-infested, hallucinogenic, ‘oh god, my face is melting’-esque rockscapes (“A Question Isn’t Answered”). It’s not necessarily a concept album – or was there a memo we didn’t get? – but it’s definitively a journey. Perhaps not through the mortal planes, but definitely through your psyche.
The record’s highlight – “Sand Dance” (not a new cut) – is a lick-sodden giant, bustling with riffs pinched from a Tunisian bazaar, Agrabah and any number of cartoonish ’80 adventure films. It’s not subtle in trying to sound exotic, in fact it can come across kind-of stereotypical (that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish), but it’s grandiose and princely, embellished with aural gold. There’s “Voodoo”-by-Godsmack percussion, twinkling, sun-blasted guitars, entwined like salsa erótica dancers. It’s an illustrious, romantic world. You’ll struggle to stay afloat in the rich textures and vivid imagery.
Plenty of Sun Structures‘ efforts are worth noting: “Test Of Time” is raw and transcendent, and reggae-tinged “The Golden Throne” exudes cool with its Deap Vally-style cock-rock axe squeals. Crucially, it’s an album of belting singles. Each track has the innate potential to be a hit for Temples, and even though as one congealed blob it’s a rollicking rollercoaster to soundtrack your less legal vices, it can be hacked into meaty chunks and doled out with just as much success. Temples may be subsidising their debut LP with a lot of previously-heard material, but when it’s material as good as this, who gives a flying damn?