Temples – Sun Structures
Buy: Sun Structures
I first featured Kettering-based psych-rockers Temples in May last year, after they had just signed to Heavenly and were releasing the very brilliant ‘Colours To Life’ as a single. Many expected their debut album to drop in 2013, as the ‘neo-psych’ movement was gathering pace, but the band/label obviously decided that an early 2014 release would be a better commercial fit and so delayed it.
I mention this as Sun Structures finally comes to us reeking of ‘commercial decisions’ that devalue what could have been a defining album in the growing neo-psych genre. Instead of the full-on psychedelic exploration I had hoped for, the album is merely a run-through of short and snappy 60’s pop songs. Its saving grace is that these pop songs feature some of the best hooks and melodies you’ll hear all year, but the focus on radio-friendly singles means the album lacks the killer psych-rock edge.
I’m not insisting on 10 minute reverb-drenched wig outs on every track, but the odd extended groove-based outro wouldn’t go amiss. The only time the album comes close to being ‘a bit different’ is on the sublime ‘The Guesser’, which begins like it’s lifted straight from a Tarantino soundtrack before it goes all Tame Impala with swirling reverb and layers of echo. This blends nicely into the epic ‘Test Of Time’, which takes the listener a bit further down the rabbit-hole with a hypnotic bridge/chorus combo.
The rest of Sun Structures is a rush of superbly written and executed pop songs with a psychedelic flavour. Best of the lot is the appropriately titled ‘Mesmerise’ which, to put it mildly, is an absolutely belting pop song boasting the most addictive chorus I’ve heard in a long time.
‘Colours To Life’, ‘Keep In The Dark’, ‘Shelter Song’, ‘The Golden Throne’ and the rest all bring something slightly new to the party, but to be brutally cynical they’re all pretty much the same song. After a few listens they become hard to distinguish and feel like they were written to soundtrack Match Of The Day montages. As I keep stressing they are all very good songs, but Temples limiting their ambition to being the ‘psychedelic Kasabian’ feels like a massive waste of talent.
With Sun Structures Temples have put themselves firmly at the top of the neo-psych movement and have demonstrated the songwriting ability to push it fully into the mainstream in 2014. Unfortunately all that doesn’t make for a very interesting album.