Review of Volcano Album by Temples

In the past few years, dubious band revivals, mediocre pop and generally under-whelming indie bands seem to have been worryingly rife - so the arrival of Temples' neo-psychedelic rock via their 2012 debut "Sun Structures" made a refreshing and welcome change. Just over two years on and the band have released their second record, "Volcano" - unfortunately, however, this time it isn't so much a case of music to your ears.

Temples Volcano Album

Where "Sun Structures'" lead single, "Shelter Song" offered a swirling medley of twangy electric guitars, mesmerising drum beats, tambourines and smooth vocals that any band in the 60s would have been proud to put their name to, "Certainty", the first release off this record, sets the tone for a more rock-based direction. The opening grinding, thumping beats lead into a cacophony of wavering synth chords, which are interspersed and blended throughout the remainder of the track. Singer James Bagshaw's vocals are higher this time round and the lyrics somewhat less indecipherable, which aids in creating a hypnotic feel. However, where "Shelter Song" was the precursor for 11 enchanting tracks that synced well together and each possessed solid foundations, the same cannot be said for the 11 songs that follow on here.

While they all comprise the layering of different sounds that defines the psychedelic genre and makes it so distinctive, here it's done to such an extent that it feels as if the band are just trying to pack as much in as they possibly can - and the result is a bit of a mess. "All Join In" features pacing verses punctuated with pulsating drum hooks that suddenly switch to slower, higher pitched instrumentals and heady vocals that make you feel as if you're in a hazy trance; while "I Want To Be Your Mirror" features a jarring stop-start pace and instrumentals that flit between pulverising, deep electro pulses, heady and pitchy guitar riffs, along with patches of slower, folk-esque vocals. By the time the listener makes it through to the speedy synths and airy vocals of "Open Air" and the disarrayed, skipping tones of "Mystery Of Pop", you don't know whether you're coming or going - not an issue if we were all still in a LSD-fuelled haze at Woodstock, but those days are definitely over.

For a band that formed less than five years ago, it's somewhat impressive that Temples are on their second album release already. However, this could also be a key reason as to why "Volcano" is so chaotic (and not in a good way,) having self-produced both this record and "Sun Structures" means the band have lacked the direction and guidance in the studio of an experienced producer - which they could have especially benefited from to help hone and develop their style when making this all-important second album. Longevity in the music industry is a marathon, not a sprint, and Temples would do well to slow down a touch and consider the sound they really want to create in order to avoid further erratic deviation in future.

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