Music

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.


Temples

Sun Structures

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

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.

6
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

Ivy Mix's 'Spirits of Latin America' Evokes the Ancestors

A common thread unites Ivy Mix's engaging Spirits of Latin America; "the chaotic intermixture between indigenous and European traditions" is still an inextricable facet of life for everyone who inhabits the "New World".

Film

Contemporary Urbanity and Blackness in 'New Jack City'

Hood films are a jarring eviction notice for traditional Civil Rights rhetoric and, possibly, leadership -- in other words, "What has the Civil Rights movement done for me lately?"

Books

'How to Handle a Crowd' Goes to the Moderators

Anika Gupta's How to Handle a Crowd casts a long-overdue spotlight on the work that goes into making online communities enjoyable and rewarding.

Music

Regis' New LP Reaffirms His Gift for Grinding Industrial Terror

Regis' music often feels so distorted, so twisted out of shape, even the most human moments feel modular. Voices become indistinguishable from machines on Hidden in This Is the Light That You Miss.

Reviews

DMA's Go for BritElectroPop on 'The Glow'

Aussie Britpoppers the DMA's enlist Stuart Price to try their hand at electropop on The Glow. It's not their best look.

Film

On Infinity in Miranda July's 'Me and You and Everyone We Know'

In a strange kind of way, Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know is about two competing notions of "forever" in relation to love.

Music

Considering the Legacy of Deerhoof with Greg Saunier

Working in different cities, recording parts as MP3s, and stitching them together, Deerhoof once again show total disregard for the very concept of genre with their latest, Future Teenage Cave Artists.

Music

Joshua Ray Walker Is 'Glad You Made It'

Texas' Joshua Ray Walker creates songs on Glad You Made It that could have been on a rural roadhouse jukebox back in the 1950s. Their quotidian concerns sound as true now as they would have back then.

Music

100 gecs Remix Debut with Help From Fall Out Boy, Charli XCX and More

100 gecs' follow up their debut with a "remix album" stuffed with features, remixes, covers, and a couple of new recordings. But don't worry, it's just as blissfully difficult as their debut.

Television

What 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Taught Me About Unlearning Toxic Masculinity

When I first came out as trans, I desperately wanted acceptance and validation into the "male gender", and espoused negative beliefs toward my femininity. Avatar: The Last Airbender helped me transcend that.

Interviews

Nu Deco Ensemble and Kishi Bashi Remake "I Am the Antichrist to You" (premiere + interview)

Nu Deco Ensemble and Kishi Bashi team up for a gorgeous live performance of "I Am the Antichrist to You", which has been given an orchestral renovation.

Playlists

Rock 'n' Roll with Chinese Characteristics: Nirvana Behind the Great Wall

Like pretty much everywhere else in the pop music universe, China's developing rock scene changed after Nirvana. It's just that China's rockers didn't get the memo in 1991, nor would've known what to do with it, then.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

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