Temples: Electric Ballroom, Camden – live review

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Temples

Electric Ballroom, Camden

15th November at 

Having just spent a very busy summer and autumn touring, Temples have just announced that their debut album, ‘Sun Structures’, is to be released on February 10th, 2014. Louder Than War’s Fergal Kinney was lucky enough to be amongst the audience at the last date of on the tour, his review is below.

“This feels a bit early” reflects Temples’ singer James Bagshaw in a rare moment of onstage understatement, before joking “we’ll see you next year at the Barfly”. Though the twelve months since the release of their debut single ‘Shelter Song’ have seen Temples selling out gradually bigger rooms up and down the UK, that the thousand plus capacity Electric Ballroom is virtually bursting at the seams for them tonight appears as daunting as it is humbling for the Kettering four piece. Though often accredited with spearheading something of a psych revival, Temples sit strangely apart from their shoegaze contemporaries, and there’s a distinct feeling that they owe none of their success to any sense of burgeoning scene and more to the fact that they’ve spent the last year releasing some of 2013s most consistently brilliant singles – though lashings of hyperbolic positivity from hierarchical figures like Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr always helps.

Opening with the Eastern flavours and pounding Motown drums of ‘Sun Structures’, Temples begin something of an assault course of intensely well crafted, chiming nuggets of psychedelic pop where the guitars are big, but reigned in from the indulgent and punctuated only by bassist Thomas Warmsley’s occasional bursts of organ. Despite Bagshaw’s unexpected reflection on the bands sharp ascent, Temples are a band that don’t do understatement; the stage is half Velvet Underground and half low-budget science fiction complete with gold backdrop and gong. With Marc Bolan’s haircut (though perhaps after the crash) and a glitter shirt and jacket combination that would make even Liberace wince, James Bagshaw is a compelling onstage presence even though his vocals can unfortunately become lost in the glorious fog of guitarist Adam Smith’s colossal wall of noise.

No other new band in Britain has a set of songs quite as coherent and consistently memorable as these, and there are influences from Spiders from Mars era Bowie to My Bloody Valentine peppered across their set. It isn’t only a haircut that Bagshaw seems to have adopted from Marc Bolan, T-Rex pulsates through ‘Keep in the Dark’ which tonight proves a far more bombastic affair than the single would suggest and is all the better for it. The band’s two song encore is where the band really seem to hit their stride with almost juggernaut momentum, ending on the blissfully hooky ‘Shelter Song’, sounding like ‘Ticket to Ride’ recorded on Apollo 13. Tonight may be somewhat premature, but it’s in no way undeserved; few have ascended sharper in 2013, and there’s more than enough to suggest that the impending new year will be even better for them.

Temples played:

Sun Structures

Prisms

Colours to Life

Move With the Season

Ankh

Test of Time

Keep In the Dark

Sand Dance

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Mesmerise

Shelter Song

~

Temples website can be found here. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

All words by Fergal Kinney. More writing by Fergal on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.

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