ALBUM: Temples – ‘Volcano’


The androgyny of Bolan is there, the otherworldly, wan countenances too, gazes seeking distant horizons and the answers to questions long ago asked by hipless, hapless pop stars, but this record is no retread of the musical past.

What it is is a synthesis of the band’s loves and influences, Volcano’s dozen tracks displaying Temples‘ ability to shirk all the usual worn-out influences and do something a little bit more honest than the average band (who these days can usually be found worshipping at the altar of the sixties).

These are complete songs, not modernist stabs of nostalgic abstraction, neither jagged nor cod-punky because that’s what ‘they’ might like to hear on the state-run radio. So if it’s solid pop you want with a psychedelia tinge, look no further than the middle track ‘In My Pocket’.

With ‘Certainty’ there’s a sage nod to Tame Impala that’s also a gentle dose of europop whimsy as Temples hint at what is an easier, less mannered way of putting a melody together without worrying about what any exec might think.

The production makes use of all the modern tricks yet somehow manages to sound like the music of no other previous decade; which one might surmise is the outcome of a successful modern project.

There is, of course, the requisite anthemic track ‘Born Into The Sunset’, and ‘How Would You Like to Go?’ retains something wholly gothic while ‘Mystery Of Pop’ evokes a certain Mike Oldfield song.

It’s with the cluttered uplift of ‘All Join in’ and ‘(I Want To Be Your) Mirror’ that we receive tracks of electronic rock that grab the ear. And the inevitable homage to Bowie comes with ‘Roman God-Like Man’, an enjoyable, full fat lipped, posturing pop of the kind we all loved a long time ago, coming before the album ends with a slice of electro-tragedy in ‘Strange Or Be Forgotten’. which, in these trying artistic times, is a piece of advice for the modern era if ever there was one.

Jason Holmes