Boy, do I love the seventies. The hair, the fashion, and obviously, the music. It was as if everything came alive – both vocally and in the instrumentals – and people started to take more risks and experiment more than ever before. Some of the greats (and some of the bands my parents and older brother grew up with) came with that era – The Animals, Simon and Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and obviously, The Beatles – and I’ve found that I seem to sometimes relate these influential sounds to bands of today. I love whenever someone, anyone, can take something and breathe new life into it, and Temples have done such a great job in bringing back some of those wonderful techniques and overall magic back into the twenty-first century.
Of course, nowadays, seventies inspired music bears a new name – and a new genre – and it appears to be more popular once it’s called “psych pop.” I have no problem with this new and improved epithet, and it does do Temples justice. These four friends from England definitely look like a psychedelic rock band, what with their ornate, elaborate outfits and the perfectly permed hair of lead singer and guitarist James Edward Bagshaw. It works even better considering they accurately embody and seem to worship the old days, and that their music is incredibly on point. In fact, some say their only complaint is that it’s perhaps too perfect, which seems to injure their credibility, but I believe that their passion and deep devotion to their art keeps them in the clear. Immediately from the first five notes of the first track off of their debut album, you can hear the distinct influence straight away. “Shelter Song” sounds almost reminiscent of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper,” and it jingles and jangles with such ease and feeling that you can’t help but do a double take at what you’re actually listening to. Title track “Sun Structures” mixes together hard and soft, and intertwines a sort of delicate tenacity with tranquility. Bagshaw’s croon slowly becomes more and more potent, and very beautifully embodies the essence of nostalgia and love. The lyrics are so poetic as well, seeming to touch on everything from metaphors about nature to the joy and privilege of love. “Keep In The Dark” is one of my personal favorites, and that’s because it sounds so different from the rest of the songs on the album. It’s more minimal in the verses, but it’s the chorus that’s absolutely phenomenal. The way it sways and radiates is so comparable to the techniques that newer bands like Tame Impala and MGMT have succeeded in making their own, and Temples’ new take on it is so excellent. “Mesmerize” is the most psychedelic for sure, and that strong riff that attempts to float and drift like an escaped balloon. It has that frivolity and lightheartedness about it but also remains at such a high stature, and it’s that dynamic ability that Temples pride themselves on. “Colors To Life” has that America (the band, not the country) folk feel to it, but almost with an ethereal and psychedelic twist that makes it incredibly powerful. “Fragment’s Light” is a great closing to Sun Structures, simply because it shows the softer side of the band, something that wasn’t really heard throughout the rest of the album. It has that soft, almost Fleet Foxes feel to it, and it rounds out the album quite effectively.
I enjoyed Sun Structures so much because of the distinct comparison to thse carefree times, and I keep listening because of its devotion. Temples have achieved such a great following with this excellent debut album, and have proved that this type of music is still very much alive.