Album Review: Temples – Volcano

9/10

Album Review: Temples – Volcano

Temples were first formed in Kettering, England in 2012 and released their debut album Sun Structures (Heavenly Records) in February 2014 to high praise getting to number seven in the UK and gaining the top spot in the Rough Trade Shops Albums of the Year. I first heard of them last year after watching the film The Gift and hearing a track played on the closing credit that sounded like Micky Dolenz (of the Monkees) singing. On finding out what the song was it turned out to be their single release of 2013, Keep in the Dark with its infectious blend of 60s psychedelia, T-Rex style glam rock and sitar sounds (that came off the album).

Sun Structures charted in eighteen countries, including a top-10 spot in the UK, and became the year’s biggest-selling vinyl album in independent British record shops. They played to a packed Shepherds Bush less than a month after release and made numerous festival appearances including Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, Primavera Sound and Lollapalooza.

Temples consist of singer and guitarist James Bagshaw, Tom Warmsley (bass/backing vocals), Sam Toms (drums), and Adam Smith (keys). Since the release of said debut album and EPs Shelter Song (July 2014) and Mesmerise Live EP September 2014) they toured extensively for two years at many gigs and festivals. Self-produced and recorded at the band’s home studio, expectations are high for their new album Volcano of which the singles Certainty and Strange Or Be Forgotten have been released. Certainty has already proved highly popular on Spotify getting to over half a million plays. Following their recent, very special, sold-out show at Oslo in Hackney where they played a number of new tracks, the band have announced another London show at The Electric in Brixton on Thursday 30th March 2017.

The album kicks off with Certainty with a distinctly electronic style and 80s synth hooks. The vocals are still dreamy and ethereal but there seems to be some progression here in their style and it works. All Join In starts off very electronically but turns into a slightly glam-rock era affair with a Beatle-esque Sergeant Pepper feel to it. It’s certainly fascinating. Third track I Want To Be Your (Mirror) is distinct with an instantly mesmerizing introduction of what sounds like medieval pan pipes! It’s very prog rock a la Caravan then instantly ups the tempo with an enchanting melody: a stand-out track. Oh The Saviour has a Jethro Tull feel to it to begin with (though Bagshaw’s vocals are dissimilar to Tull’s Ian Anderson it has that element to it). Halfway through though it changes to an electronic vibe and is less folky. It’s a clever mix of both which stops it just being a 60s pastiche.

Born Into The Sunset contrasts too with a blend of 60s sound mixed up with more synth and hip beats. Another stand-out. How Would You Like To Go? Is like being enveloped in a science-fiction film with some note-worthy sound-effects. Open Air carries on the sci-fi feel with an 80s feel that has an urgent beat. In My Pocket combines gorgeous swirly vocals and orchestration. It is sugar-coated and yet has a depth to it as well and some lush production. Mystery of Pop has a brilliant electronic/medieval beginning to it and what a great combination. This song just fizzes with melody. Strange Or Be Forgotten ends the album on a strong note with its otherworldly quality.

On first listen Volcano may not quite be the follow-up to Sun Structures that fans expected but give it a chance. It’s still veritably groovy but conveys a vivid musical development that doesn’t disappoint. A very substantial album that sparkles.

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