Temples | Live Review & Photoset

Temples @ Trinity Centre, Bristol. 29.11.14.

Photos (c) Hannah Broughton

Bagshaw delivers an accomplished vocal and engaging show, but doesn’t always seem the most natural of frontmen.

Thick curls of freezing fog descend over Trinity as we head towards the sell-out Temples gig, but inside it’s more Barbadian sauna. The intimate venue is packed with early-birds keen to secure their spots and size up support band Superfood, so we assume our usual front-side of sound desk position and watch with interest as a live visual is assembled for tonight’s headliner, made of bright coloured oils swirling into psychedelic patterns.

Alongside the likes of Tame Impala, Hookworms and a small handful of others, Kettering quartet Temples – James Bagshaw, Tom Walmsley, Sam Toms and Adam Smith – are spearheading the neo-psych guitar-band revival of the decade, and they look the part.

The band open with ‘Sun Structures’ followed by ‘Prisms’, which to my mind, has a very slight Moons feel to it (no surprise as singer James and bassist Tom did work together in the said band). Next comes riddle-like mantra ‘A Question Isn’t Answered’ and highlights ‘The Golden Throne’ and ‘The Guesser’ plus the Arabian desert grooves of ‘Sand Dance’. It’s all much meatier than on the ‘Sun Structures’ record, which is a good surprise, the songs belong to each other well.

The befringed Bagshaw delivers an accomplished vocal and engaging show, but doesn’t always seem the most natural of frontmen, encouraging audience participation a little too frequently for my liking, and offering some superfluous chat – we decide he might be more alluring as one of those moody, silent types. Later in the set, the foursome launch into more widely known tracks ‘Keep in the Dark’ and ‘Shelter Song’, with its prettily twanging guitars and sweet, hallucinogenic tones, which have the crowd bouncing in recognition.

Tracks such as ‘Ankh’, ‘Colours to Life’ and ‘Move With The Season’ are, though enjoyable, fairly forgettable. Here, attention strays briefly to the man tending to the oils – looks like a fun job but – back in the room – it’s all generally the kind of stuff you could have taken to pre-security Stonehenge until the early hours, to forget to.

Prevailing thoughts? No, it’s not revolutionary – it’s a revival, after all – but it’s very enjoyable if you like that kind of thing; and I do.

Check out ‘Keep In The Dark’ right here:

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