We have a definite contender here with Temples’ outstanding debut Sun Structures for 2014’s album of the year. England’s Temples, as with the Netherlands’ Jacco Gardner in 2013, are not mere psychedelic rock revivalists. They are breathing new life into the genre with a distinctive and fresh approach — even while remaining faithful to their influences.
The chiming 12-string sound of the mid-tempo catchy first single “Shelter Song” sounds like a dreamy, long-lost song from The Notorious Byrds Brothers album, but with a more contemporary sheen. The driving title track fires across the audio stratosphere with sonic sun flares out in full. “The Golden Throne” has an early Pink Floyd feel to it, with a droning organ/guitar played in unison which served Rick Wright and Syd Barrett so well in Floyd. The galloping second single “Keep in the Dark” mashes up T-Rex’s Electric Warrior era and the Beatles with an irresistible melody.
“Move with the Season” wraps its dreamy flowing tale of the seasons into a stream of consciousness. The fuzzy pounding mantra “A Question Isn’t Answered” probably could’ve been used for meditation at a 1960s love in. “Sand Dance,” as you can imagine, has a swaying Middle Eastern flavor, like a soundtrack to the desert. “Colours to Life” and “Mesmerise” each take on a more 1990s’ psych-Brit pop approach, rather than ’60s psychedelia.
Temples as a live band really can cut it, as evidenced on a recent live EP and also from any live footage found on YouTube. Having said that, if you buy this album at an indie record store, their Fat Possum label will include the lively free four-song CD EP Live in Japan, which contains a live version of the fabulous Mellotron driven B-side only “Prisms.” Why the studio version of “Prisms” wasn’t included on Sun Structures, and was instead relegated to the b-side of the UK single of “Shelter Song,” is beyond me. It’s easily one of their very best songs.