Temples - Sun Structures

by Pete Super Rating:9 Release Date:2014-02-10

It's a completely normal occurrence these days for a band to show up with a first record that sounds so completely formed in it's genre intention and sonic articulation you'd think they were veterans cranking out their fourth or fifth record. It's been a problem for me in the past to completely stifle my cynical brain and give these bands a fair shake. Examples include Interpol, and more recently Tame Impala. How dare they sound so fucking good right out the gate?

Having largely gotten over it both by utilizing this amazing technology that allows you to just do what you want without a lot of hassle, and being hungry as a music fan for more of what's good, I downloaded me a copy of Sun Structures by Temples last week, and suddenly I was again being overtaken by these old distrustful thoughts.

What finally won out is the great songwriting. These folks got hooks upon hooks. What felt at first like a sonic name-check so genre specific I couldn't trust it, revealed itself to be acute melodic instinct coupled with scientific attention to colour and shade and dynamic balance.

This band may be among the first to show the distinct influence of Tame Impala. Some of the songs follow the Tame Impala template: a melodic base of picked, tremolo-laden chords over a mechanically slow breakbeat; a crunchy riff, a rush of synth strings, suddenly the entire mix is overtaken by a ripple of flange and a wash of delay/feedback. The second half of the record shows this formula off to stunning effect.

Temples have a way of starting a song off in a way that feels a little too familiar and then shimmers it's way into an unexpected loophole of their melodic idiosyncrasies. The first half of the record serves as an homage to psych-pop of the middle and late 60s, with the second as a modern equivalent. 'Test of Time' is a dead ringer for Tame Impala, but that's really not a complaint because Temples end up feeling completely sincere in their expression. There's clearly a lot of love in the painstaking execution of a musical landscape this specific.

What does continue to piss me off is that they apparently recorded the whole damn thing in their apartment. They have no right to be this good under those circumstances, I tell you! There, I've arrived at a place where I can hate and love them for the same reason. Thanks, Temples!

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