PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Temples: Sun Structures

Throughout Sun Structures, Temples obsess over emulating their idols and many songs go by without a hint of originality. Yet, there is some fun to be had.


Sun Structures

Label: Heavenly
US Release Date: 2014-02-10
UK Release Date: 2014-02-10
Label website
Artist website

Does everyone remember Wolfmother? The Zeppelin worshiping Aussies that released two pretty solid albums and found Guitar Hero fame? They were a band that rejected modern musical ideals (outside of production work) and dedicated themselves to making albums that seemed to have time warped its way from the '70s. If you want to get a proper idea of what UK outfit Temples is all about just replace "Zeppelin" with "The Zombies" and you'll have a pretty good picture of their sound.

Temples have been dropping songs since 2012 like the trippy "Shelter Song" which sounded like Django Django transported to the late 1960s. The follow up single in 2013, "Colours to Life" was even better; a lush and vivid track based around mesmerizing guitar work and a sweeping chorus. Things looked promising for their debut Sun Structures. Sadly both "Shelter Song" and "Colours to Life" outline that Temples have a very small comfort zone to work in. Throughout Sun Structures Temples obsess over emulating their idols and many songs go by without a hint of originality.

There have been many bands before them that have crafted albums while spinning psychedelic pop records in the background, but each one added a unique twist on Sgt. Pepper fantasies. Of Montreal's Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? was tweaked out insanity based around Kevin Barn's strange visions, Animal Collective mashed their own ideas of warped pop and electronic on Strawberry Jam, and of course the Flaming Lips' sound was dominated by Wayne Coyne's strange positivity. Temples, meanwhile, reflect the recent Red Hot Chili Pepper's spoof "Abracadabralifornia", an exact replica of the sound they adore, unfortunately without any signs of self-realization.

That's not to say the songs here are bad. Frontman James Edward Bagshaw can write a hell of a melody. The snaking vocal lines of the title track work fantastically with the fuzz filled guitars and Bagshaw pulls of a seductive turn on "The Guesser" aided by an organ backing his singing in the chorus. "Sand Dance" might be the only song here that plays outside of Temples' well-defined boundaries. This is one of the few times that the guitars really kick ass which is a shame as hints and peaks of Bagshaw's guitar prowess show up here and there. Album closer "Fragment's Light" also toys with a few more modern ideas with Fleet Foxes like vocals combined with a pastoral background.

Still Sun Structures never evolves beyond pastiche. The goofy "The Golden Throne" can't tell if it wants to be taken seriously or be the background music for a Scooby Doo episode and the following track "Keep in the Dark" is a plodding piece that never picks up enough steam to become interesting. The songs here also have a tendency to become indistinguishable on repeat listens. But these faults can be ignored if the listener is in desperate need of classic psychedelia. The base problem is that Temples' narrow sonic pallet holds them back from being exciting rather than just being good. For now they're a fun, talented, and faceless rock band.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.


Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.


Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.


Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.


In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.


The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.


The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.


The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.


When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.


20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.


The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.


Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.