"I wish we were more glamorously debauched than we are."
--Torquil Campbell (Stars)
Oct.14 Cover - Temples
Written by Jhoni Jackson   
ImageNo Trips for Temples:
Taking Psychedelia Seriously Pays Off

For a psych-rock band, Temples sure seem straight-laced. The Kettering, England-based group presents an unfailingly put-together image, from their ’60s mystic style to their artfully trippy videos. The idea of Temples as a whole is sharply focused – and, for that, they exude a certain seriousness.

It could be a result of the way co-founders James Bagshaw and Tom Walmsley started the project: Together, as just a duo, and with a mission. Both are former members of The Moons, a relatively well-known English rock band going on six years.They left a few years ago.

“I never want to talk bad on that band because they were a part of our life for two years,” Bagshaw says. “I’ve gotten over qualms with anybody in the band...It was hard for [Moons frontman] Andy [Crofts] mostly because we were all friends, so why would you want to leave? There’s a point where it doesn’t become about friendship and you have to do something creatively if you want to get your output out there. I wrote three songs on the main record but they didn’t sound how I wanted the songs to sound.”

Bagshaw laments that songs he wrote for The Moons were too significantly altered by other influences.

“I thought, I didn’t know if I could deal with doing this anymore. For years I’ve been in bands where songs have been written but don’t have the production or the...sound that I want,” he says. “Playing around at home…and recording a lot more, I’ve gotten better at it or worse at it, whatever it means that makes it sound better. And so it was that reason, really – to actually see a whole song through the whole process without compromising really. It’s sort of a bit of a selfish way to start something but I think you've got to be like that...to at least have some kind of identity.”

Before having even played a live show, Temples were scooped up by Heavenly Recordings, the more than 20-year-old London label that gave Manic Street Preachers their start. Now, just a couple years later, they’ve rereleased their debut LP, Sun Structures, on Oxford, Miss., staple Fat Possum.

Temples’ take on psych is not wayfaring or experimental but, instead, quite constrained. That doesn’t mean it isn't lush or embellished – there are chimes, flashes of dizzying synth and Bagshaw’s slightly shrill-but-soft vocals, which heighten an underlying glam. But Temples are deliberate, even calculated. It’s got the droning hypnotism and distorted, twisting riffs but it isn't a free-for-all, mind-melting experience. It’s psych in its least drug-induced state; a pristine version of the genre where the mastery of radiating a mood of multicolored opulence can really be heard.


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