How do a band divert a potientially hindering type-casting tag but still sound like themselves? A psychedelic four-piece that asked a lot of bamboozling riddles on their debut album could possibly have the key.
Three years ago Temples established themselves as that band with the sixties-throwback sound. Their impressive debut album Sun Structures was triumphant at authentically mimicking the harmonic acid-trip music of the aforementioned decade from Pink Floyd‘s Piper At The Gates of Dawn, to the Revolver-era Beatles to The Byrds through their ambiguous lyrics – seemingly imagining themselves as philosophical guardians of sun-worshipping desert Gods – and use of hazy and absorbing production.
Listening to their subsequent release Volcano gives one the impression that they aim to progress away from that semi-plagiarisation label but still stick to their musical beliefs of sonic trickery, evolutional hallucinogenic mood and poetic creativity.
The Moog synthesizer is a crucial component of Volcano’s chamber and the diverse way that Temples use this instrument is what makes the record intriguingly heterogeneous and time-travelling. It can become cosmic in the soothing ‘How Would You Like It Go?” and ‘All Join In’, sounding like the dawn of a Jerry-Goldsmith soundtrack to a sinister Sci-fi thriller but it also transforms the listener to a Elizabethian surrrounding in the clappy anthem ‘The Mystery of Pop’ and and ‘(I Want To Be Your) Mirror’.
Tracks such as the Kasabian-punchiness ‘Born Into The Sunset’ and the Beck-artsy-folk ‘Oh The Saviour’ are much more modern and are further evidence that Temples are no longer stationed within a single decade. In fact ‘In My Pocket’ combines James Bagshaw’s impression of John Lennon with the fuzzy rock of The Dandy Warhols. As the mist over Bagshaw’s vocals are less foggy than on Temples’ debut, his ability to change vocal personality at times is a rest bite for those who might find his falsettos a little bit too high pitch and whiney.
One of the noticaeble differences presented on Volcano is the lyrical directness and a mature focus on earthly concerns, whilst still mixing it with their signature fantasy. ‘How Would You Like To Go?’ and Certainty are analytical. The latter feels very 2017 in it’s lyrics about feeling paranoid towards the idea of change, with the fictional location of Neverland in the Peter Pan book used as a metaphor for cowardly escapism. Furthermore, Temples themselves admit a struggle with facing problems on ‘Celebration’: “I just can’t keep my head in reality.”
The U2-reminiscent Strange or Be Forgotten tackles the human obession to be remembered post-mortem and how many try to achieve this feat through crazy antics, especially celebrities. However Temples state that it’s better to reveal your true self to the world and rely on this as a memento. Perhaps this is what the band have attempted to achieve with this album.