Solid effort from English indie hopefuls
On Volcano, Kettering quartet Temples follow their 2014 debut, Sun Structures, with another 12 tracks of shiny neo-psychedelia. Vintage synths have been pushed centre-stage, providing gilded fanfares and rimy beds for singer James Bagshaw’s effortless falsetto to soar over. Confidently self-produced at their own home studio, a general air of transcendence bathes the album. Despite the synthy sheen though, a winsome psych-pop underpinning is never far away.
First single ‘Certainty’ pilfers half a riff from ‘Everyone’s A Winner’, while conjuring images of Henry Darger’s androgynous Vivian Girls marching to destiny, suffused with righteous zeal. On ‘Mystery Of Pop’, demented oafs – in a village full of idiots – drunkenly caper round a rubber maypole. ‘Roman God Like Man’, meanwhile, filters The Kinks’ ‘David Watts’ through a swirly day-glo prism, and ‘In My Pocket’ evokes Zion DeGallier’s weird toytown nugget, ‘Geraldine’ – “Sometimes my head gets very cloudy… and empty”, indeed.
Throughout, Marc Bolan’s ghostly elfin presence runs a finger over some of the dustier musical artefacts. Temples’ magical-carpet-ride banks, ducks and swerves, but remains resolutely on course to a place where the sun don’t shine.
Of course, the argument rages on as to whether any new rock band in 2017 can retain the cultural influence and enormous commercial success that characterised iconic rock records of the past. Think pieces on the genre are now a staple of the music press and its current state regularly sparks debate among fans. While Volcano may now reinvent the wheel, it’s certainly a decent effort and possibly a portent of even greater things to come.