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Temples – Sun Structures

Maria Turauskis

Triangle

Temples have received a significant amount of attention in the past year, with the group’s debut album Sun Structures one of the most hotly anticipated albums of 2014 thus far. Cited by the likes of Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher as one of the best new bands in the UK, the group have had a blessed existence since their inception in 2012.

Temples’ appeal to a Kasabian or Suede crowd is evident from the first breath of Sun Structures, and its single track predecessors. The group pedal a kind of suffused, dazed, psychedelic rock, awash with vintage instruments and equipment to create a retro, trippy sound. The collective effect is fairly authentic – the timbres that the band employ feel palpably physical and analogue, especially when combined with their musical techniques. Hints of Beat and Mod mix with Eastern influences, almost like Temples themselves were mentored by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the banks of the Ganges, enrobed in sunlight with the scent of patchouli on the air. All this is finished heavy-handedly with far too much reverb and fuzz, almost but not quite disguising the crisp and seamless modern day production.

With Sun Structures, Temples exhibit plenty of musical proficiency and clarity of intent, but this album is heavy with retro references and therefore utterly struggles to be in anyway innovative or interesting. Sure, there are plenty of catchy and even charismatic tracks – Mesmerise is particularly enjoyable, with its relentless melody line and solid vocal performance. There are plenty of interesting synth timbres too, pushing catchier hooks and more personality than the guitars ever manage. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that this album is ultimately rather uninspired.

Arguably Tame Impala and The Coral did the whole accessible psych thing far better, with a far more dynamic vision and scope. While Temples here sound like a band that could have been lost and unearthed from 1969, Tame Impala create true neo-psych, with their intoxicating bass lines being particularly notable. The Coral too, while more obviously retro were still incredibly dynamic in their range, with no two song sounding alike on their debut.

Taking Sun Structures fully into account, Temples are clearly a band who have been talked up too much, which is certainly not their fault. If you are seeking out Sun Structures purely on the basis of hype surrounding Temples then look elsewhere.

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