After debut ‘Sun Structures’ was lavished with critical acclaim, charting in 18 countries and sending Temples on sell-out nationwide tours, it was hard to imagine how they might follow up on this success. Named Rough Trade’s Album of the Year, and becoming the biggest selling vinyl album in independent record shops of 2014, the Heavenly quartet had a huge weight on their shoulders ahead of the second album.
But on ‘Volcano’ they really have outdone themselves — no second album syndrome here — taking their synth-pop, festival-friendly sound into something more sophisticated, with more depth. Produced in singer James Bagshaw’s home studio (as was the last album), it’s rich in intricately layered synths, blending swathes of influences into a more distinctive sound.
From stellar opening track and first single from the album, ‘Certainty’, to the closing chimes of ‘Strange or Be Forgotten’, Temples stun with their dreamy, space-age psychedelia. ‘Certainty’ could be their strongest track yet — a true mission statement for the album — and was described by Bagshaw as having an “eerie, early Disney vibe, something playful and harmonious, but with a dark twist.”
It takes a few listens to appreciate everything that’s going on within the songs, which are more psychedelic than pop this time round, but it’s clear from the offset that the band have not only built on their debut, but expanded their sound hugely.
Some of the tracks boast a sci-fi-esque quality — ‘All Join In’ wouldn’t sound out of place in a dramatic space film, with its poppy intro. Others are sure-fire summer hits, with ‘Born Into The Sunset’ and ‘(I Wanna Be Your) Mirror’ certain to win over festival crowds.
Kicking off their UK tour with a spot at Glasgow’s 6 Music Festival, it will be interesting to see how the songs translate live — it may be difficult to reproduce the rich recorded sound in cavernous spaces — but there’s no reason why Temples won’t continue to be an outstanding live act as well as on record.
Words: Megan White
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