All trippy vocals, clashing cymbals and experimental melodies, English band Temples harks back to the best days of ’60s psych rock—sons paying homage to the very best of their psychedelic fathers (think Pink Floyd, the Byrds and the Nazz).
The quartet—guitarist/vocalist James Bagshaw, bassist/singer Tom Warmsley, drummer Sam Toms and keyboard player Adam Smith—hails from the small market town of Kettering, deep in England’s Midlands. “It’s the sort of place you travel through but never really stay put in,” Warmsley explains on the phone from a tour stop in Amsterdam. “There is nothing to really draw on anything culturally.” Their teenage years were underpinned by the resurgence of guitar music in the early ’00s, when they were all part of Kettering’s burgeoning music scene, all playing in separate bands until the summer of 2012, when the band was pieced together as more of a personal project than any real musical endeavor. But the hype around the band led to the perfect storm, and from a few videos they uploaded to YouTube they were asked to do live shows, which quickly saw them sign to Jeff Barrett’s indie label, Heavenly Recordings.
Being outside of the London bubble and its busy music scene gave the band “the opportunity to escape creatively and to grow our own way artistically.” Temples spent a year and half on tour playing live shows and road-testing songs, trying to get a complete picture of what they wanted in their first record. The result was 2014’s Sun Structures, a mishmash of psychedelia, glam rock and experimental sounds that was widely well received. “We knew pretty early on how we wanted that album to sound, and we went full force with that,” Warmsley says. “Shelter Song” is the perfect example of the airy psych-pop on display throughout the album, the kind that transports you back to the swinging ’60s with one listen.
For their sophomore release, Volcano, Warmsley explains that they were looking to break out of how they had been defined post-Sun Structures. “We were keen to build on what we had done but we had to disappear, come back and bring something new, especially when it came to how we approached the songwriting on the album.” They all ventured home to Kettering and worked individually before coming together to collaborate on the final product. “We aren’t the sort of band who jam out and see what we come up with. We are studio based—we separate and then come together to build a bigger picture from there.” “Certainty,” the electronics-laced opening track on the 14-song offering picks up where Sun Structures left off, if not with more purpose, and album closer “Strange and Be Forgotten” sets in stone the euphoric ’60s sonic revival on which the band has staked its claim.
Following the spring release of Volcano, Temples are spending a good portion of this year on the road, as well as slowly dabbling in the studio working on new music. “Volcano set us off in a more sublime and unusual path—it was more sophisticated,” says Warmsley. “When we are done with live shows, we’ll take it from there.”