Much will be made of Temples’ sonic resemblance to 60s psychedelic pop acts, and James Bagshaw is a dead-ringer for T-Rex’s Marc Bolan. What separates them from their counterparts, such as Tame Impala, in the music world is their obvious desire to recreate something of a time portal for the music they love, thereby taking its influence one step further.
However, we immediately see with Shelter Song Temples’ ability to take a jangly riff and simple call-and-answer verse and suddenly transcend into an entirely unexpectedly brilliant chorus. The Golden Throne rumbles along nicely with Ancient Egyptian synths and another great chorus, while the bouncy Keep In The Dark takes a detour into a more blues-y sound almost resembling The Black Keys. Move With The Season, a personal favourite, is one of the less insistent tracks on the album but it slowly grows into a memorable ballad: while it could have easily been written in the 1960s, its songwriting is timeless and therefore originality becomes irrelevant.
Perhaps a bigger issue with the album is its somewhat detached nature. For the most part, the songs are well crafted, catchy and don’t outstay their welcome (notable exceptions are the overly long title track, and the irritating A Question Isn’t Answered), but when you consider that “Now I know the lonely days are gone” (Shelter Song) is probably far and away the most emotional lyric on the album, there is something of a void here. What’s more, peculiar references to “crimson robots” and “the Odyssey” feel more like a learned psychedelic diversion rather than anything genuine, and therefore, as I also mentioned in my gig review, you find yourself admiring the technical ability and melodies of Temples, but not necessarily falling in love with them as a band.
That said, this is an assured debut with some quality songwriting which anyone who is a fan of 60s/70s guitar and psychedelic music will instantly love, as well as anyone with a taste for slightly alternative new bands. Listen to this album; lyrical oddities aside its depth of sound will at times blow your mind.