Album Review: Temples, ‘Sun Structures’

For a band that only formed in 2012, Temples has attracted a remarkable amount of press coverage, not least thanks to two of the most influential guitarists of the last 30 years – Johnny Marr of The Smiths and Noel Gallagher of Oasis – certifying them as one of the best new bands out of Britain. It only takes a quick listen to their debut LP Sun Structures to understand why this band has been spotlighted: with jangly, distorted guitars filtered through acidic sound effects and backed by 1960s-era rolling drumbeats, Temples take their place alongside Tame Impala and Pond as champions of the Psych-rock revival currently in full swing across Europe. The band’s psychedelic agenda is defined right from the opening track ‘Shelter Song’, a modern rehashing of the Beatles’ ‘Ticket to Ride’ where frontman James Bagshaw channels The Zombies with the tone and melody of his vocals. Key to the Temples’ exceptionality is their engine room of Tom Warmsley (bass) and Sam Toms (drums), who consistently churn out steady grooves that allow the band’s sound to remain uniform throughout the album.  Their combined skills are used to great effect on the Doctor Who-style boogie of ‘A Question Isn’t Answered’, and when Bagshaw and keyboardist Adam Smith join in with a celestial twin melody, the result is an arousing tune that sounds delightfully like early Pink Floyd material. The solid rhythm section also provides the template for the album’s many musical experimentations, which are arguably what makes Temples a good band rather than just an average one. Standouts of the many creative moments on Sun Structures include the spooky-sounding organ on ‘The Golden Throne’, the Middle-Eastern string intro on ‘Sand Dance’, and Bagshaw’s ripping guitar lead lines on the album’s strongest track, ‘Mesmerize’. Needless to say, there’s plenty to like about this album and this band, especially if you’re hungry for a modern band with a vintage sound. But whatever you do, don’t start thinking the Temples are the much-sought-after “Future of Rock”. The band might have done a good job reinterpreting the musical stylings of their influences on this album, but they’ll need to move beyond that and develop their own distinct rock style before they can be taken seriously as trendsetters for the next generation of musicians. 3.5 out of 5 stars Review by Alexander Darling  

February 16th 2014
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