“The best new band in Britain” declared Noel Gallagher about Temples on the recent Russell Brand show on XFM.
Gallagher has form with such proclamations, having praised eight of the last three most successful new artists in the UK, including Jake Bugg. But if Noel Gallagher is sometimes profligate with praise, on this occasion you can’t help feel he’s on the money.
Debut single “Shelter Song” is certainly a Byrds-and-Beatles inspired psychedelic piece of utter brilliance. Check out the Rickenbacker 12-string, the sixties drumbeat and the dreamy vocals. Just when you think the song is done, it flips 180 degrees and shows some songwriting chops that you didn’t expect. For a first single, it is extraordinary. The flip side “Prisms” isn’t bad either. Is that jazz flute I can hear? Shelter Song has been an ear worm for me for several weeks now – and honestly, I mean that as high praise indeed.
The band played to a sold-out Lexington in North London‘s Bok-Choi-and-Soya-milk-infested-Islington last night. Otherwise engaged, I dispatched a crack reporter (i.e. one of my friends) to the show, as a sort of Ole Gunnar Solskjær substitute blogger who reports as follows:
“And so it was with a sense of almost excessive anticipation that the sell out crowd at the Lexington in Islington awaited this new band, about whom I knew little, save for having heard their debut single.
Stage presence has not been mastered yet – but with lead singer James Bagshaw sporting a very retro 1970s hair do, and his mum’s sparkliest (is there such a word?) gold blouse, his mere presence onstage indicates that this band mean business. The drummer reminds me of Vaccines drummer, Pete Robertson, at his first Isle of Wight gig in 2011. Young, nervous, almost uncomfortable – but once the music starts – great!
The four piece set – James Bagshaw (vocals, guitar); Thomas Warmsley (bass, backing vocals); Sam Toms (drums); and Adam Smith (keyboards) – have quasi re-invented psychedelia with their look and sound but somehow they have almost mixed it with early days Radiohead / Muse and a bit of Oasis thrown in as well – as if to almost confuse the listener. If a time traveller had happened to pass by the Lexington last night – I doubt they would have even guessed the correct decade, let alone the year.
The set started with The Golden Throne – a full on guitar sound and instantly catchy. Colours to Life followed in a similar vein, then the very good Prisms; Sand Dance; Keep in the Dark; The Guesser; the excellent Shelter Song; and finally Sun Structures. Not knowing any of these songs might put you at a disadvantage at some gigs – especially if you have to write about them afterwards – but somehow the Temples made it look almost effortless. They didn’t even allow a guitar hitch mid way through to ruffle their feathers.
Time will tell if these four can fill bigger venues and have crowds chanting their songs up in the rafters – but on last night’s form, this blogger tends to agree with King Noel – they really are rather good.”
Temples have released just the one single so far. Expect mighty things in the future. Especially when they have catchy tunes and wear their mum’s blouses. It never did Ozzy Osbourne any harm…
Record #183: Temples – Shelter Song
With thanks to Jason W who reported on the gig…
Temples are supporting The Vaccines on their forthcoming UK Arena tour
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