***TEMPLES—JAMES BAGSHAW (vocals, guitar), TOM WARMSELY (bass, backing vocals), SAM TOMS (drums) and ADAM SMITH (keys)—release their new album, Volcano, on March 3rd via Fat Possum. All the elements people loved with Temples’ debut, Sun Structures, remain intact, but this time, there is a noticeable evolution presented from the outset. It’s clear Volcano is the sound of Temples squaring up to their potential, immediately evident with “Certainty.” Its beefed-up beats reveal an expanded sonic firmament, one in which bright synth hooks and insistent choruses circle around each other over chord sequences that strike just the right balance between nice and queasy. Entirely self-produced and written by all four members of the band, Temples’ melodies seem to come effortlessly. There are sun-dazed numbers and lysergic dream-pop songs and those where synth and mellotron interweave to beguiling effect. One thing is certain; it’s harder to spot the influences this time around. Mystical language has been supplanted by something more direct. They’ve been broken down and blended together—fossilized into a single source of creative fuel, resulting in a sound that is undoubtedly Temples.
Portlandia house bastion Ecstasy termed Temples’ 2012 debut mini-LP I-VII “ambient jack,” which captures something of the project’s contradictory strengths: airy yet agile, sparse but plush, flights of intuition mapped onto morphing grids of percussion, crystalline electronics, and pastel skylines. Avalon Kalin’s latest collection of tech finery, Earrings II, dials back the atmospheric quotient somewhat, though there’s still a rock-garden spaciousness to his mixes, each element arranged with regard to some higher harmony, the poetry of negative space. Recorded in his home studio “while dancing,” the four tracks here flow between passages of pressure and release, euphoric but unstable, dusted with pyramid-chamber slap back and live dubbing acrobatics. Their melting clock asymmetries more closely echo Kalin’s hardware improvisations with Scott Goodwin as Polonaise than the velvet vocal house of his other solo vessel, Finesse, but Temples is ultimately a holy place all its own. A sleekly compelling statement from one of the Pacific Northwest’s secret heroes.
***BACK IN STOCK!!! Made in Kettering UK, TEMPLES’ first recording arrived in one Technicolor burst in July 2012. JAMES BAGSHAW and TOM WARMSLEY recorded Shelter Song, put it on the Internet, and set into motion an unstoppable chain of events that eventually saw them signed to Fat Possum Records. That same track, a bouncy, psychedelic romp, was issued as their debut single on Heavenly Recordings—and quickly became as sought after as any of the vintage vinyl they individually lusted over. Their latest, Sun Structures, is a record that’s destined to set out the band’s stall as Britain’s premier retro-futurists, with influences ranging from ‘60s psychedelia to Motown, glam, Krautrock and baggy, all viewed through a very modern kaleidoscope—and always keeping the song at the heart of it all.
***Cloistered with just a few of his favorite boxes, resident Enigma/ Hardware devotee, AVALON KALIN built us a house so fervent it borders on the theocratic. Seven tracks of sweeping polyrhythms and new age pads jump and float weightlessly to comprise Ecstasy's first full length release of ambient jack. Limited to 300 copies.