Temples Trade in Their Guitars for Synthesizers
Written by Reid Smith on March 6, 2017
Photo courtesy of bandcamp.com
Record Label: Fat Possum Records
Release Date: March 3rd, 2017
With their sophomore album, Temples sends a message that they’re more than a 60’s nostalgia act.
The neo-psychedelic group from Kettering, England went from uploading their songs on YouTube to playing Coachella and performing on The Tonight Show over the span of two years. Their second album, though, is proof that that Temples’ fame isn’t fleeting. Volcano is a solid follow up to 2014’s Sun Structures, with the band moving forward from their debut album but not too forward.
Volcano takes no time getting to the point with opening track “Certainty” unleashing a bright and bouncy synth hook over lead singer, James Bagshaw’s floating vocals. “Certainty” is one of the highlights of Volcano, if not the album’s best song, which is probably why the band chose to release it as a single. “Mystery of Pop” and “Oh the Saviour” are also standout tracks that follow in the same jangly fashion as the opener.
The 60’s aren’t completely over for Temples, with pop standards like “In My Pocket” and “Mystery of Pop” that wouldn’t seem out of place if they were found on the B side of some forgotten Turtles single.
While contemporaries in the “neo-psych” genre like Tame Impala focus their work on introspective lyrics about the innerworkings of the mind, Temples choose to hang their hat on the melodies they’re singing instead of the words they’re saying. If there’s one thing in common with every song on Volcano, it’s that they’re all catchy as hell. Nothing on the album’s going to “blow your mind” or help you open your third eye, but that’s not anything to be upset about.
The album loses some of its steam around the halfway mark, with “Open Air” and “How Would You Like to Go?” being a little too spacey for my taste, but the two tracks that round out the album, “Roman Godlike Man” and “Strange or be Forgotten” end things on a high note.
If Volcano is nothing else, it’s proof that a band create something new without completely reinventing themselves. Temples have mastered melody on their second album, but that doesn’t mean that Volcano is going to blow up (get it?) the world. What it does mean is that Temples are more than students of the 60’s and that they’re not going anywhere fast.