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Early contender for Album of the Year
on 17 February 2014
Temples is an up-and-coming indie-rock band. They have created quite a buzz with their early singles, in particular their very first single "Shelter Song" in late 2012. After a couple more singles in 2013, now finally comes the highly anticipated full-length debut album. If you are unfamiliar with the band's sound, think early Beatles-meets-the Byrds-meets-BJM, adjusted for the 21st century.
"Sun Structures" (12 tracks; 53 min.) opens with the afore-mentioned "Shelter Song" (1st UK single), with one of the more distinctive (if derivative) opening guitar riffs in a long time. Much has been made of singer-guitarist-producer James Bagshaw's love for the 'simple' song structures of Beatles songs, and it reflects in the opening track more than any other song on here. But in a sense, "Shelter Song" is a bit misleading as the album quickly becomes denser, with lots of reverb and at times a wall of sound, aided by a generous use of Mellotrons (check the title track). "Keep In the Dark" (3rd UK single) is a lighter tune, carried by acoustic guitar (and reminding me of some Oasis songs). "Mesmerise" (4th UK single) comes next, and continues in the same vein. By track 7 we get "Colours to Life" (2nd UK single), another stand-out song, an up-tempo rocker that is just one of several tracks reminding me in spirit, if not more, of Tame Impala's "Lonerism" album from late 2012 (just as Temples were starting, coincidentally). Towards the end of the album, just as the album starts to lag a bit with "The Guesser" (the weakest track on here for me) there are 2 more gems, the up-tempo "Test of Time", which reminds me of Oasis at its best, and the monster 7 min. "Sand Dance", with its Eastern influences and a 3 min. instrumental outro that will blow your mind.
All in all, "Sun Structures" is a fantastic debut album confirming the promise of the early singles, and then some. I know that we are early in the year still, but I'm guessing that this will be a strong contender to make the top of my "Best Albums of 2014" list come later this year. If you loved Tame Impala's "Lonerism", you will absolutely love "Sun Structures" too. Temples will be touring the US in a couple of months and I already have my tickets for when they come here to Ohio in late April. Can't wait for that! Meanwhile, "Sun Structures" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
*UPDATE* (April '14) I just saw these guys live at a small venue here in Ohio and they brought a blazing 60 min. set, playing mainly from this album, along with 2 songs I didn't recognize (probably B-sides). Their last song before the encore was "Sand Dance", sounding even more epic than on the album. Wow, just wow. If you have a chance to see them, DO NOT MISS THEM!