With their second album ‘Volcano’, Temples refine and polish the winning formula from their 2014 debut.
In 2014, Temples’ debut album Sun Structures earned them acclaim from critics and fans of their peers alike. Their 1960s psychedelia-influenced sound can simultaneously be considered a love letter to the classic albums of the era by artists like The Byrds and T.Rex, as well as their own revivalist spin on the genre. Their new effort Volcano doesn’t stray far from the original formula. Rather than being a restructuring of their original sound, it is an all-around improvement on the same aspects that made the first one great.
Temples is a band that obviously carefully digests and carefully reapplies proven techniques from their successful peers. The careful use of drum filtering, various effects and creative use of panning might bring to mind Tame Impala’s Currents, while the synthesizer driven songs that make up a lot of the album are evocative of MGMT.
The album, however, shouldn’t be written off as a well-produced archetype replica. The technical attention to detail is nothing short of remarkable and while the lyrics aren’t exactly praise-worthy, being full of gems like “The waves are waving slowly / The sand is standing lightly”, the overall shroom dream atmosphere is conveyed with certainty that alludes to the extreme competence of the artists. Vocalist/guitarist James Bagshaw and bassist Tom Walmsley, the main creative forces in the band, showcase incredibly skilful songwriting, most likely attributed to over-exhaustive listening of classics.
Arguably the strongest aspect of the album is its overall consistency. The production values never drop below exemplary, and not one song can be considered filler. There are stand out moments in the form of the appropriately named opener ‘Certainty’ or the showcase of harmonic minor harmonies on ‘(I Want To Be Your) Mirror’. Volcano is not lacking in catchy melodic lines as well, with the chorus from ‘Strange Or Be Forgotten’ possibly having the ability to get stuck in your head for days on-end. It’s in these stand out moments displayed against the backdrop of a genre that has proved itself to be surprisingly re-discoverable, that the praise and attention Temples has received back when it first debuted (Noel Gallagher notoriously stating that the band is “the best new band in Britain.”) starts making sense.
Volcano is basically a polished up version of Sun Structures. It took the elements that made the band acclaimed in the first place, and pushed them as far as the possibilities of engineering can allow. Temples are definitely a band worth watching, and if Bagshaw puts down his Nazz vinyl, and maybe picks up a poetry book in the meantime, the third album might just be a hands-down classic. (8/10) (Ellie Wolf)
Listen to Volcano here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!
Tags: Adam Smith, album, Ellie Wolf, Fat Possum, Heavenly, James Bagshaw, review, Samuel Toms, Temples, Tom Walmsley, Volcano
Currently studying Mathematics and Music at Leeds University. Generally a fan of all things musical, cultural, and pretentious. Values aesthetic way too much.
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