The Student Playlist

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REVIEW: Temples – ‘Hot Motion’ (ATO / P.I.A.S.)


In a sentence:

On their third album ‘Hot Motion’, Temples unfortunately over-polish their sound and lose many of the winning characteristics that made them so satisfying.

The Kettering-based band Temples have been defining their psychedelic pop sound through their previous album releases Sun Structures and Volcano, both of which drew heavy inspiration from classic psychedelic rock. However, with their third release Hot Motion, it is evident that the three-piece group don’t seem to have continued to develop their sound, and their strive for original psychedelic content appears have halted, settling for a formulaic style of writing and production on each track of this album.

The whole affair is awash with airy production, James Bagshaw’s vocals drenched in reverb on every track. This production style blurs the pitches of the guitar and vocals into one consistent celestial swell, but it becomes tiresome when hearing it overused on song after song. Hot Motion doesn’t sound particularly bad either, it’s just that there’s nothing new really going on. The excellent drum sound has to be credited, as the punchy snare hits are the saving grace of most of the tracks, providing a much-needed drive to keep the liquid harmonics moving in the right direction, if uneventfully.

Music video for ‘You’re Either On Something’

It really seems that Temples have gone less for psychedelia and more for pop, with attempts at cutesy singalong choruses, specifically on ‘You’re Either On Something’, and there’s just an alarming lack of anything controversial in sonically or lyrically. The band seem to be under the illusion that an airy anthemic production style will transform a song into a psychedelic epic, even when the harmonic content just isn’t overly special. There are moments when the group allow themselves to sound a little bit grittier – the fuzzy guitar break in ‘Not Quite The Same’, for example – but it’s not enough dirt to pull the rest of the album out of the tank of reverb that it’s submerged in.

Music video for ‘Hot Motion’

Temples’ live sound is surely not as washy as the sound on this album, and with the volume of a live setting, certain tracks from Hot Motion like ‘Context’ and ‘Step Down’ will surely sound explosive. It begs the question why Temples would over-polish their album tracks in this way when they have material they could take into a more daring territory, and continue to develop. (5/10) (Jacob Kendrew)

Listen to Hot Motion by Temples here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

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