Volcano - Temples
Temples return in 2017 with their second studio album, Volcano - but their drawing minimal parallels to 2014's Sun Structures. The English psychedelic quartet made headlines with their last record, and the subsequent success of singles "Shelter Song", "Mesmerise" and "Keep In the Dark" took them out of their borough in Kettering and into the mainstream spotlight. But they'd done so in a modern rock fashion of psychedelic six-strings, and undoctored acoustics and percussion respectively.
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Graphic Design: Jonathan Zawada
Critics quickly drew links between artists in the era of peace, love and harmony: bands like The Beatles, The Move and The Byrds. A modern rock style influenced by bands generations back, Temples had established their general persona, using Sun Structures to pay a subtle homage to the timeless works of rock and roll's early greats. But with three years in between this and 2017's Volcano, the band have had ample time to evolve their sound and expand different avenues in the psychedelic spectrum. The result? A shift towards the neo-psychedelic textures of keyboard synths and hypnotic dynamics that have adorned the likes of Tame Impala (circa Currents) and Jagwar Ma (circa Every Now & Then).
Volcano begins with "Certainty"; a buzzing bass-line running underneath a rainbow of brightly-coloured synths that do well to set you up for the bands newfound sense of direction. It's not just vocals that have undergone a switch though; Bagshaw's notable change in pitch throughout, but primarily concerning the falsetto hook on this track- "I wanna know that certainty is in my life" - is an incredibly uplifting change for Temples futuristic new vibe. "I Wanna Be Your Mirror" combines keys with a mid-noughties indie structure of foot-tapping tambourine percussion and punchy guitar, with intermittent changes during the track that invite glistening keys to accompany Bagshaw's delicate dissection of love - "Meant to be, Left in between / I wanna be your mirror, Endlessly".
Temples craft their transitions from verse to chorus with precision: "Oh the Saviour" welcomes a catchy opening acoustic verse, before blooming into a big chorus; "Born Into the Sunset" quietly tip-toes on its opening verse, before stomping into a symphony of instruments; The whirring, siren-like synth that opens "Open Air" acts as the pencil sketch to the full colour and composition of the remainder of the song - they do well to realign bare passages and turn them into anthems.
"Celebration" too. Although this time we get the awakening introduction - "Can't stop my thoughts from gathering energy, Can't separate the real from day to day" - before insisting we recline, relax, and absorb the deeper message in the chorus - "Celebration, In control of you / Transformation, Into something new"; they address their obvious change as deliberate and not coercive, and ask only that you endorse it. Celebrate it.
"Strange or Be Forgotten" video
Produced by: Colonel Blimp
Art Direction by: Diasy Azis
The latter chapter of Volcano introduces "Roman God-Like Man"; a beautiful resemblance to Ray Davies' "Poetry" and early Kinks material, coupled with dizzying dynamics. And lead single "Strange or Be Forgotten"; a perfect blend of 80's electronica and stadium rock that crowns off the record in superb fashion.
Temples' frontman and producer for the album James Bagshaw told Paste: "[Volcano is] a result of implementing a load of things that we didn't know about the first time around". I think that perfectly sums this record up.