Album review: Temples’ Volcano is psychedelic

English rock band Temples released their second studio album, Volcano, in March.

The band formed in 2012 and has also performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, as well as The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I was first introduced to Temples at the Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee in 2015 and was mesmerized by their retro sound. Any fan of the bands Tame Impala or MGMT is bound to love Temples and their psychedelic sound.

Volcano’s lead single, “Certainty”, made its debut in October, along with a music video on YouTube. The trippy music video complements the dream-like mood of the song. The video was directed by Alden Volney, who said in an interview with Paste magazine, “This is based on a recurring dream I have been having since childhood about getting into a sea of plastic. So when the band approached me about doing something inspired by those JPOP videos that ooze quirkiness and eccentricity, I thought injecting the color palettes and aesthetics of Japan into this idea could be a good fit. It’s designed to feel like a fever dream you’d have after spending too much time in a Japanese dollar store.”

“(I Wanna Be Your) Mirror” is my favorite track on the album. The song fuses violins and flutes with a 70s psychedelic rock sound, making it a dynamic song. The groovy tune has lyrics like, “Love is a conquest that we both desire / In knowing this we leave / From the passages before / A day will come when we open the door / And we can live like the rich / But pretend to be poor.”

Another notable track on the album, “Oh The Saviour,” has more of a synth-pop vibe and a storytelling element within its lyrics like, “Standing up like a wild impala / Standing down like a weekend martyr / living life at the speed of light.” The is full of curious, intriguing phrases and is a trip within itself.

Closing out the album is the song “Strange Or Be Forgotten.” The song has glittering instrumentals and a retro keyboard melody. The song has an introspective tone and that makes it a great song to end the album with lyrics like, “I don’t know what to take now / I will wait for the upward feeling / Meant to be any day now / Will I ever be something more than strange? / Strange, or be forgotten.”

As a whole, Volcano overflows with lyrics that are evocative and weird, but also alluring. “Certainty” tells us to “land upon the parallelogram”, “Oh The Savior” invites us to “take a look with our eyes closed open”, and “I Wanna Be Your Mirror” says that “the starts grow lighter with humor.”

In an interview with Billboard, frontman James Bagshaw discussed the mood of Volcano, saying, “We wanted modern songs with modern lyrical concepts and content but almost like a ‘found in a vault’ kind of sound. But with this one, I feel like it’s more a contemporary album—a modern album. It’s not ditching all our love of the golden era of songwriting, but I think what it’s doing is not being afraid to use the studio in a forward-thinking way, as opposed to a referential, retrospective way.”

For a band that now has two albums under their belt, Temples definitely has established a unique style and has a charm that is impossible to resist.

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