Temples

Ever Evolving

Jun 28, 2017 Photography by Ed Miles Issue #60 - Father John Misty
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On "Certainty," the euphorically yearning opening track of Temples' sophomore album, Volcano, lead vocalist and guitarist James Bagshaw's voice reaches heavenly notes. But on the phone his tone is deeper and more direct, even though the sky-high ambitions of he and his Kettering, England bandmates are still more than apparent.

"This record is more about looking forward with production," Bagshaw says of Volcano, and how it is less indebted to Temples' '60s psychedelic pop influences than their 2014 debut, Sun Structures. "Of course there's references to genres over the years, but it is a more forward looking record. At least I hope."

Such efforts are audible on standout tracks like "I Wanna Be Your Mirror," which features driving percussion and careening guitar riffs that aptly suit its slick production. "Born Into the Sunset," meanwhile, opens with radiant synths that contrast sharply with its intermittent thunderclaps of percussion. And then there's "How Would You Like to Go?" which fades in with echoing singing and slow building synth notes.

Aside from working toward a more distinctive sound, Bagshaw also labored more over the lyrics this go around. "It's about having a vision of what you're trying to say, more so than just having a vision in your head that doesn't say anything in particular, which was probably what the first record was like," he concedes about Sun Structures' lacking lyricism. "It was more like opportune words than storylines or summing up something."

And while Volcano's lyrics are by no means groundbreaking, and aren't as impressive as Temples' new sonic shifts, it's evident that Bagshaw is at least being more imaginative with those linesreferencing weekend martyrs, wild impalas, and molten lava on "Oh! The Saviour," for instance, while the aforementioned "Certainty" finds him declaring: "We land upon the parallelogram/On the sand of another land/We appear and call."

Even though such striving is admirable, Temples would likely have a strong following regardless. Indeed, even as Bagshaw and his bandmates (bassist Tom Walmsley, keyboardist Adam Smith, and drummer Sam Toms) work to evolve beyond the sound of their debut, plenty of fans loved Sun Structures' retro vibes. The most vocal of its proponents was none other than Noel Gallagher of the blockbuster Britpop outfit Oasis, who went as far as to publicly criticize BBC Radio for neglecting to play the debut LP despite its strong sales.

Bagshaw says Gallagher was even more generous to Temples in conversation, recalling: "One of the biggest compliments he could give us was saying that he spent 20 years in Oasis trying to get to a sound like Sun Structures, and failing. So that was great."

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar's Spring 2017 Issue (April/May/June 2017), which is out now. This is its debut online.]

 

 

 

 

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