Temples

Exotico review | Temples give psychedelic indie-rock some escapism – adding novelty to a tried and tested formula

★★★★☆
Temples return with their fourth record, Exotico, which retains the balance of previous influences while incorporating more electronic and ambient sounds. It’s an exciting, unorthodox record that fans will leave fans with plenty to unpack.

★★★★☆

Over the past decade, Kettering’s Temples have earned a steady following, delivering a unique mix of indie and neo-psychedelia that helps set them apart from other groups of the 2010s. Their 2014 debut Sun Structures earned rave reviews and marked them as a force to be reckoned with.


The group return with their fourth record, Exotico, which retains the balance of previous influences while incorporating more electronic and ambient sounds. It’s an exciting, unorthodox record that fans will leave fans with plenty to unpack.

‘Liquid Air’ is a truly epic way to kick-off the record with a mix of the styles that Temples have perfected to date; a six-minute track that never feels its length and exhibits a heavier side to the group which is explored later on the record, subtly shifting gears to a more calming sound towards its end. With this opening alone, we get a sense the record won’t unfold how we might expect. 

‘Gamma Rays’ contrasts this opening with a more electronic sound which still retains a Temples vibe and also shows a more Pop-oriented side they are able to slip into effortlessly. As with many other tracks on this record, there is an infectious energy.

Temples Exotico

The title track has a slower build-up, still dripping in psychedelia, and comparisons may be drawn to some of Tame Impala’s earlier work. It’s a real showcase of the group’s expansive, more experimental sound and offers James Edward Bagshaw an opportunity to show off his guitar prowess, the range of which is a frequent highlight across the album.

‘Cicada’ is a relentless beast chock-full of energy, retaining the more electronic sound and is sure to become a live favourite. This is contrasted by ‘Oval Stones’, a more pop-driven track that has a Glass Animals feel to it and once again shifts gears in its second half.

‘Slow Days’ feels more like a throwback to the group’s earlier material built around the guitar and vocals of Bagshaw and is instantly one of the record’s standouts; as we move into sunnier, longer days this feels a natural fit for BBQ playlists. ‘Crystal Hall’ offsets this perfectly with a heavier, rockier sound that shows the range of sounds on display and the ability to shift between styles. 

There are several short interludes in what is, at 16 tracks, a bulky record, but it rarely feels its length, such is the experimentation on display. ‘Giallo’ is a smoother track, resembling Foals in parts, while ‘Time Is A Light’ feels ready-made for a dancefloor with a mix of electronic and ambient beats and that offers something unexpected from Temples.

Temples

Photo: Molly Daniel

Not everything quite hits the mark and this is perhaps a sign of taking risks. ‘Inner Space’ is more pop-based but fails to capture what makes the very best moments on the record work so well, feeling a tad repetitive. Generally speaking, however there are few dull spots in what is an energetic, exciting sign of growth from an already exciting group.

Exotico is a thrilling reminder of why Temples are such an exciting force on the indie scene, delivering a record drenched in the psychedelic sounds that have worked so well to date, whilst accompanying it with an infusion of pop, electronic and more ambient sounds that, for the most part, work in synchronicity and show a group that isn’t content to rest on its laurels. What’s more, the new tracks should make for fine additions to their live sets.

At 16 tracks this could feel bloated, but this is rarely the case, with the interludes helping to break it up, and the sometimes subtle, sometimes rapid departures in sound providing a thrilling listen, as we unpack where the record might head next. It ultimately shows there’s plenty of life in Temples next and it will whet appetites for their next phase.


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