A bit out there. A bit unconventional. A bit Temples. On the basis of Exotico, they deserve to be worshipped in the highest regard.
Temples for me were one of those bands I’d heard of without hearing much of their music.
You know the sort. The kind spoken about by the cool kids in hushed tones about a group you wrongly assumed aren’t as accessible as they should be.
With a determination to broaden my musical horizons, I decided to take a break from listening to my staple diet of four white guys playing guitars to…four white guys playing guitars. Let’s face it though. There’s more to Temples than that.
They’re purveyors of psychedelic rock, taking us in a time machine to the 60’s and 70’s but do it with some nods to a sonic future. According to Noel Gallagher who ditched that style to revert to what his fans know him for on his new album Council Skies, it’s not to everybody’s tastes.
Which is a shame as there’s a lot to get your teeth into with Temples and their fourth album Exotico.
For one the production is superior. There’s an argument under the guidance of Sean Ono-Lennon that it’s slightly overblown. Yet straight from the opening track ‘Liquid Air’ the whole thing grabs your attention and doesn’t let go despite running to almost six minutes.
‘Gamma Rays,’ the single released at the start of the year, nods it’s head to the direction of pop and making it more accessible than you thought it would be. The likes of the track that shares the same name as the album has a very blissed out Eastern flow with singer James Bagshaws almost horizontal delivery of the vocals.
‘Cicada’ could actually be a song from uber fan Gallagher, fitting in well with his delivery and one of those choruses that almost topples over as it tried to keep up with itself.
There’s a lot to admire with ‘Exotico’ such as ‘Meet Your Maker’ which gallops along at a pulsating pace. ‘Time Is A Light’ is a eutrophic moment that’s a remix away from being a dancefloor banger while ‘Afterlife’ feels far more expansive that it should.
If there is a downside it’s that it doesn’t stray too far from the path. ‘Crystal Hall’ has an element of a heavier sound and you yearn for a bit more of that. ‘Faded Act’ which floats along towards the end of the album is debatably the best song in the collection.
You think it’s going one way then takes a sinister turn, fitting with the group being influenced by Italian horror soundtracks. Backing vocals of howls fade out with the music leaving a feeling of unease hanging in the air.
If there had been more times in which they’d stepped off the path then it would have been an unmissable journey. Despite that it’s still one worth taking.
The whole thing starts with the opening line “Will there ever be a flameless fire? Or a drought in a reservoir?”
It’s a couple of valid questions to kick off proceedings. We’re often looking to discover that elusive experience that pushes the boundaries and that’s what Temples do.
So where do they fit into the modern musical landscape?
They buck the trend of albums last more than forty-odd minutes. Their brand of psychedelic rock sets them apart from the majority of what’s currently on offer.
Yet as Kevin Parker, the brains behind Tame Impala has demonstrated, there’s a thirst for music that’s a bit different. A bit out there. A bit unconventional. A bit Temples.
One thing is for certain. On the basis of Exotico, they deserve to be worshipped in the highest regard.