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Wednesday, 19 February 2014 09:00

Album review: British psych band Temples burns bright on 'Sun Structures'

Album review: British psych band Temples burns bright on 'Sun Structures'
Written by Kyle Kapper
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"Sun Structures"
Heavenly Recordings

Psychedelic rock is like the aurora borealis of popular music. It dazzles then disappears, flares then flickers out. The genre seems to lie latent just long enough so that each wave can astonish anew, offering new generations a conduit to another place in time.

Temples’ self-produced debut LP, "Sun Structures," is the latest addition to that cosmos of psychedelia. Layering folk-pop melodies over reverbed guitar, the record spins a kaleidoscope of music while leaving the edges unpolished. The resulting stonewashed sound both hearkens back to the Byrds and reveals what Tame Impala could have been.

Belying the energy of “Sun Structures” are lyrics soaked in tears. “Mesmerize” laments of when “tears fell upon the fire,” and in “Shelter Song,” the band pretends not to cry, singing, “Like a summer day that’s always long, we repel the wet of tears.” It would be natural to think simple heartache might have elicited these lines, but Temples hints at something deeper in “Colours of Life,” with the song’s “stained glass floor” and “adoration speaking in tongues.”

Such sacrosanct allusions to judgment, and on the Heavenly label no less.

Across the pond, Temples’ founders Thomas Edison Warmsley and James Edward Bagshaw have prevailed with other outfits (The Moons, Sukie), and this latest incarnation has gained them praise from the likes of Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr. Now, in the build-up to Coachella, where Temples is billed nearly as highly as Mogwai and Chvrches, Warmsley and Bagshaw find themselves on stateside radars, too.

The dawn of “Sun Structures” seems set to thaw the country, moving rock fans out of these numbing polar vortices and into the timeless psyche of psych.

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