Album Review: Temples, “Sun Structures”

Sun Structures

A couple weeks ago, a Facebook friend shared a post from NPR about British quartet Temples’ debut Sun Structures (2014) with the commentary, “Temples aren’t a band, they’re a time machine.” Well, as a music fan and something of a dilettante time traveler (my time machine prototypes currently look a lot like this), I was intrigued. One listen to the opening guitar riff on “Shelter Song” and it was clear what my friend meant: 1966, here we come!

Much has been made of Temples’ debt to the Beatles given the timing of Sun Structures’ release mere days before the 50th anniversary of their first Ed Sullivan performance. And to the extent that the Fabs cast their shadow over the entire British Invasion, that’s a fair point of comparison. The Who circa Sell Out is a much closer one though. Closer still would be the Nazz, who plundered the British Invasion back catalog and pumped up the psych/hard rock factor in much the same manner as Temples would do almost five decades later. And even closer would be contemporaries Tame Impala, who crib from the same sources and share Temples’ grainy, reverb-drenched production aesthetic.

In the hands of lesser talents, a commitment to replicating the sound of the 60s all too often ends up becoming a mere genre exercise, form without substance. But guitarist/vocalist/producer James Bagshaw and bassist/vocalist Thomas Warmsley are strong enough songwriters in their own right to keep their hero worship from descending into blatant pastiche. While individual moments frequently recall certain classic songs and bands, it’s rarely easy to pin down a single source. And so long as you favor feel over content (the lyrics are pretty much ancillary), every song has something to recommend it, whether it’s the organ motif on the chorus of “The Golden Throne,” the propulsive Eastern-infused guitar riff on the title cut, or positively heavenly harmonies on “Mesmerise,” the album’s uncontested highlight.

Granted, it may all have been done before; but when you can do it this well, it’s worth doing again. And with any luck, Temples will continue doing exactly that with future releases, because Sun Structures does what it does quite well.


Listen here. Buy it here.

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1 Response to Album Review: Temples, “Sun Structures”

  1. Pingback: Tom’s Top 10 of 2014, Pt. 2 | Revolutions Per Minute

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