In their sophomore album Volcano, British psychedelic rock band, Temples, upholds the quality of their 2014 debut album, Sun Structures, while dramatically altering their sound. Volcano is stylistically diverse, stretching what qualifies psychedelic rock. The album overall has an 80’s vibe, sounding more like Bowie than The Kinks. The album contains more synth and some consider it be more indie pop or synth rock than psychedelic rock. The band experiments with different sounds making the album instrumentally amusing. Their songs, “Certainty” and “I Wanna Be Your Mirror” have a french baroque sound to them, while “All Join In,” “How Would You Like To Go,” and “Celebration” sound space-like. A few of the songs maintain the psychedelic sound of their first album and are clearly influenced by bands like, The Beatles and The Kinks. Fans of the first album will likely enjoy “Oh! The Savior,” “Born Into The Sunset,” In My Pocket,” and “Roman God-Like.”
Volcano is a make or break album; Although it has a cool sound and is overall an enjoyable album, fans looking for the same psychedelic sound of Sun Structures may be disappointed by Temples’ experimentation. The style change is understandable since Sun Structures is so nostalgic of 70s psychedelic rockers and Temples wants to establish themselves as a band with their own unique sound, not an imitation act. Yet, the album is dynamic and purposeful. This is evident in “Certainty,” the first track of the album which contains a unique baroque melody that lead singer and guitarist, James Bagshaw describes as an “eerie, early Disney vibe, something playful and harmonious, but with a dark twist.” The imagery of the song’s lyrics match Bagshaw’s description of the melody perfectly. The track also has channel switching at the end which adds to the space vibe carried throughout most of the album. Many songs throughout the album stylistically reminded me of The Beatles’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Revolver.
The vocals in “Born Into the Sunset” and “In My Pocket” are very traditional psychedelic rock vocals and the vocals in “In My Pocket” specifically sound like those in “A Day in the Life.” Lyrically, the album is very playful and full of imagery, similar to Sgt. Pepper’s and its contemporaries. The storytelling and fun lyrics found in “Oh! The Savior” and “Mystery of Pop” add an upbeat and catchy sound and make them some of the most enjoyable songs on the album. As presented in “Certainty,” most of the lyrics on the album are joyful while the music is dark and melancholy. Sun Structures launched Temples to popularity and showed their musical talent. Volcano shows Temples’ artistic talent; each song is distinctly different and thoughtfully crafted, yet they all tie together nicely creating a unified sound for the album. Temples takes a risk changing their sound, especially knowing how well Sun Structures was received, but fans should take into consideration the design of the album and appreciate the band’s effort to create a more individual sound.
– Grace Garrett