Temples – Sun Structures (Album Review)

Lately, psychedelic rock has been part of a massive resurgence in older music genres. Along with this fascinating genre, the likes of funk, 80s punk rock and disco have also been making comebacks with an increasingly modern twist. They always say that one day we’ll run out of styles to emulate, which is presumably why these genres in particular have seen such resurgence. Kettering-based Temples are one such band, riding a wave of psychedelic rock along with the likes of Tame Impala, Toy and Jacco Gardner. With the former being unarguably the most successful so far, Temples still have a long way to go. With the release of their debut single Shelter Song just over a year ago, and with a very successful 2013 behind their backs, the quartet have recently been gearing up to release one of the most hotly anticipated debuts of the year – Sun Structures.

The record kicks off with their breakthrough single Shelter Song, featuring Beatles-esque breakdowns and call-and response vocals that ease the listener into an album full of thrills. One such thrill is the title track, Sun Structures, whose faster tempo and organ-like synths break into killer track filled to the brim with fuzzy guitars and echo-y vocals. This is the song that truly demonstrates to the listener that Temples have arrived, further making their mark on The Golden Throne, which is led by a demented melody and hypnotic vocals. Occasional keyboard lines and an anthemic chorus make this one of the early highlights on the record. It’s followed swiftly by two recent singles, Keep in the Dark and Mesmerise. The former is a slow-burning, campfire sing-a-long with a layered chorus and extended outro, different from the single version. The latter, on the other hand, is a short and sharp hit with an even larger chorus than the preceding songs. It’s a perfect example of the capabilities this quartet possesses. Move With the Season is another slow-burner, more guitar-led than previous tracks, yet still with just as much psychedelic wonder, especially 90 seconds in when James Bagshaw’s magnificent vocals accompany a sprawling and beautiful instrumental. It’s from here onwards that the song builds up momentum, which is carried through into the trippy Colours to Life. As with Keep in the Dark, it’s been extended for the album, yet this doesn’t take away from the momentum and power we saw when it first surfaced last year. In fact, it adds far more in terms of synths and melodies, making the chorus even more captivating than before.

A lot of Temples’ songs had been previously heard before, with A Question Isn’t Answered being one of the few unknown songs. It starts with a clapping-based intro, accompanied by wailing vocals before synths and percussion kick in to give the song a country rock feel. The lyrics explore theoretical and philosophical ground, particularly in the opening line where Bagshaw proclaims “A question isn’t answered, if an answer is a question”. It’s similar (lyrically) to some of John Lennon’s solo work, which keeps in line with elements of The Beatles that are heard throughout the record. The Guesser follows suit with its woozy vocals, sprawling synths and fuzzy guitar line. This instrumental combination is something seen throughout nearly the whole record, yet Temples do it so well that every song sounds even better than the one before. Test of Time is another of the albums hightlights, boasting a massive chorus and intricate vocal layering. Sand Dance, the penultimate song on the album, brings with it some Arabic-infused guitars yet does drag on slightly at a length of over 6 minutes. Having said that, it’s still a great song which makes way for the previously unheard 2-minute long closer, Fragment’s Light. Here, we only hear Bagshaw and his guitars as he sings the listener to sleep in with his woozy vocals and sweet acoustic licks.

At just over 50 minutes long, Sun Structures may well be the record that propels Temples to the top of the psychedelic stratosphere. It’s filled with fuzzy guitars, woozy vocals and hypnotic synths – a perfect formula for a band like Temples, who thrive on creativity built from the simplest of instrumental formulas’. It can only get better from here…



Sun Structures is released on Monday, 10 February via Heavenly Recordings.