Live Review: Temples

Describe Temples in one word? “Ambient madness!” was one elated guy’s verdict.

Temples have an overwhelmingly nostalgic feel, and are often included in the ‘neo-psychedelic’ scene along with the likes of Tame Impala (who they opened for last year). But lead singer James Bagshaw simply stated: “we’re 60s, but making it relevant”. And after seeing them live, we have to agree.

Now nearly a month into their UK tour, Kettering four-piece Temples have been steadily picking up fans on the way, telling us that their best gig so far was in Guildford. We sadly missed The Merrylees’ supporting set, but were assured by the pianist, his mum, and everyone we spoke to that it was ‘f***ing amazing’. Luckily for us, the Merrylees are playing at the Picture House on Saturday, giving new fans a second chance.

So we waded through the crowd, and soon Electric Circus was filled with Temples’ swooping vocals and spangly riffs teased from guitars. In the same way that ‘shadows lighten up the day’ (Shelter Song), Temples are full of contradictions, as hypnotic strings vie with exulting tambourine to set the tone. During their set they played crowd-pleasers ‘Prisms’, ‘Colours To Life’ and show-closer ‘Shelter Song’ to mention a few. We also got to hear some new material like the trippy ‘Move With The Seasons’ - fingers crossed their debut album next February will give us more of these alluring harmonies.

Cynics dismiss them as a rehash of Beatles psychedelia and T-Rex, even though they cite influences from as far afield as Billie Holiday to experimental producer Joe Meek. Not only that, these guys do everything themselves: the gravity-defying hair, the surreal stage projections, the glittery tote bags. They even got roped into returning a fair few coats at the door. Yet far from a DIY quality, the whole show comes together with a sleekness that belies an inherent professionalism. Despite drummer Sam’s endearing “thanks for bothering!” after the show, Temples have a lot to offer.

Francesca Hawker

Bethan John

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