Replaying the ’60s: Sun Structures album review
Temples’ debut album provides little originality
Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2014 23:02
Album: Sun Structures
Release Date: Feb. 10
Two years ago, Temples burst onto the music scene and seemed to have the potential to provide a new wave of psychedelic rock. Their distorted 1960s twang and pop-rock sound created a euphoric sentiment that has garnered significant publicity in a short time.
But in Temples’ debut album, Sun Structures,the band’s ideas have no direction.
Itfeels like listening to a condensed essence of the psychedelic ’60s – down to the note. Noel Gallagher of Oasis may have labeled Temples “the best new band in Britain,” but this time capsule needs a bit of updating for the modern age.
The one thing that Temples lacks is originality.
The main riff of “Shelter Song” sounds as if it was lifted straight from the iconic Beatles album Revolver. It’s so similar in sound that it may be a reworked version of “Day Tripper.” The album’s drumming resonates with The Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs” – the sort of echo filtering that screams 1966.
James Bagshaw, Temples’ frontman, sounds like a combination of John Lennon and Syd Barrett. He especially sounds like Barrett on “Keep In The Dark,” which itself sounds like a rejected Bob Dylansong with an “I Am The Walrus”-esque synthesizer sound.
Modernity finally comes to the forefront in “Mesmerize” – an interesting mix of the classic ’60s sound with newer indie styling. Had the entirety of the album worked its way along this trajectory, Sun Structures could have been exciting, impactful and original.
But Temples has fallen short.
It is clear the band looks to its idols too much in creating its own sound, so much so that listening to Sun Structures makes the listener want to abandon Temples in favor of the classics. Why listen to the amateur when you could listen to the best? Imitation is futile.
Temples is solid musically. But if the group wants to be more than just a novelty footnote in music history, they need to create something new like modern-day psychedelic masters Tame Impala did.
Unlike Tame Impala, Temples fails to bring the groovy bass lines and emulation of John Lennon’s voice into the current music scene.
The grittiness of Sun Structures serves to create a dissociative feeling – a feeling that acts distasteful in the imitation of the original bands, which makes the album sound like it’s full of bad cover songs.
Had Sun Structures been released 50 years ago, it might have revolutionized music, but sadly Templesis past its time. It’s time to take the greatness from the past and bring it to the present, but in a different way.
The album proves it’s hard to make history repeat itself. Temples does not try and imitate. The band tries to repeat – unsuccessfully.