Temples – Sun Structures

by The Insomniac

Top Tracks: Colours to Life, Keep in the Dark, Move With the Season, The Guesser

“Take me away to the Twilight Zone” cries Temples frontman James Edward Bagshaw on the opening song of Sun Structures, and its a worthy summary of the band’s intentions on their debut LP. This psych rock group is a new one out of Kettering, England finding early success and recognition despite their small collection of work.

Before the release of their full length album, only a few singles and live performances could be found of the band and was all the public had to chew on before they were fed a proper record. “Colours to Life” and “Keep in the Dark” were among the first tracks released and are two of the best from Sun Structures. These two songs are good examples of where Temples gets their strength – gorgeous, glimmering, and delicate synth soundscapes and Bagshaw’s echoing voice driving through melody after melody, each one catchier than the last. It’s clear his songwriting is the driver behind the addiction built into this music and serves as evidence of his love for 60’s psychedelia. Backing him are reverberated guitars and choruses that seem to evolve over themselves as if to climb higher and higher into the clouds in an attempt to find the epitome of euphoria.

But true euphoria isn’t always found by searching higher and smiling bigger. My one critique of this band is their one-sidedness in their exploration of psychedelic rock. There is an overwhelming dripping glee that seeps from every track, as if each were it’s own celebration of sorts. But psych has another side to it, one more darker, elemental, and undeniably mad. This is the space you truly get lost in and it seems like this is missing with the exception of a few moments where Temples teases crossing to the dark side, but never does. However, this is only their debut album and seems like an exhale of creative expression that’s been waiting to be released for awhile. Bagshaw’s wavering melodies and choruses are plenty and excellently crafted, but it’s the space between those shiny hooks that lacks exploration. The Twilight Zone is where they want to be, but they are virgins to visiting a place so alien, sinister, and raw. I’m hoping that virginity is lost in future works once they are given a chance to dive deeper into the cobwebs of their psyche. Temples have proven their songwriting ability, but now let’s see if they can truly get lost in it.

King Tuff – Was Dead [Reissue]

by The Insomniac

Top Tracks: Sun Medallion, Lazerbeam, Dancing on You

I can’t wait to play this record when Spring comes around. These guys rock out. King Tuff was founded by Kyle Thomas out of Vermont and have released 3 albums since 2006. Was Dead was actually released in 2008 originally, but a deluxe version was released in May of 2013 by Burger Records, and thank God they did – what a find. Picture a bunch of young beach bums playing at a poolside gig with a passion for classic Rock & Roll. Think Wavves meets Fitz and the Tantrums meets early Strokes with a bit of every rock song you loved from Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 but dialed back a few notches in tempo. Then, picture a singer who idolizes Bob Dylan’s delivery who maybe likes ska a little bit too much and is never light on the reverb. There’s King Tuff for you.

I dare you to try and not bop your head listening to this. This is the sound of the nation’s frustrated youth celebrating the coming of warmer weather, a chance to ditch class or your job, and the rest of the world for that matter. The time when the best idea is an impromptu road trip to a festival somewhere, anywhere where you can be enveloped by the sun and lose your mind to some beach riffs. There’s no denying the good times ahead if you crank this LP, give it a listen and enjoy.