Temples are working as fast they can, even if from the outside it might not look that way.
The English foursome released their debut album, Sun Structures, in February 2014, quickly winning fans with their lushly textured neo-psychedelic style. Their sophomore record, however, remains forthcoming. And Facebook isn’t too pleased about it, as evidenced by the myriad comments on the band’s page that all single-mindedly say the same thing: “Release another damn record already.”
Bassist Thomas Walmsley, however, promises that the release is imminent and that the quartet wasn’t trying to make anyone wait.
“Believe it or not, we did it as quickly as possible,” he says with a laugh from a friend’s home in London. He makes it clear that they have been working and touring like crazy, even if social media is under the impression they’ve been vacationing in the south of France.
And, once it’s released, Walmsley hopes it shakes things up. The band’s mid-sixties visual and sonic aesthetic has led many critics to chalk their mission up to gimmicky revivalism – a perception he and his bandmates are actively trying to break. He’s hoping this record changes a few minds and demonstrates just how far the band have come from the retro sound that defined Sun Structures.
“It is so easy to define a band with just one record,” he says. “I’m hoping this one widens people’s perceptions.”
With Sun Structures, Temples were focused on creating a specific aesthetic: a spiraling, kaleidoscopic take on sixties and seventies psychedelic rock, filled with thick basslines, warm synths, and bright guitars. The groovy stomp of “Keep In The Dark” is T. Rex in the 21st century, and the trebly plucked riff of “Colours To Life” could pass for a lost cut by The Byrds.
Just don’t expect any of that to happen a second time around.
“It’s less about aesthetics and more about the actual songs and lyrical content,” Walmsley says. “It’s a more honest representation of who we are now. We’ve been more careful choosing what we want to say.”
Still, as much as Walmsley feels the band has grown beyond their debut, he still regards Sun Structures fondly. Sun Structures, after all, was the record that catapulted Temples to the forefront of neo-psych, sending them around the world for 18 months, and landing them appearances at major festivals, like Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, and Levitation. In retrospect, it captured a moment of creative inspiration and launched the whirlwind that has been Temples’ reality for the last three years.
All four member grew up in Kettering, England, a town 80 miles north of London and surrounded by green fields. Walmsley grew up down the street from drummer Sam Toms and met fellow founding member and frontman James Bagshaw at a youth club when they were 9 years old. All four members were active in the small but vibrant music scene in Kettering, and Walmsley credits some of their success and synergy to their shared provenance.
“I think all of our temperaments are very similar because we’re from the same place,” he says. “I have nothing to compare it to, but I can only imagine how horrific it might be to be in a band with people you have nothing in common with.”
And, as Walmsley tells it, Temples are more committed than ever to presenting a united front and to ensuring their own longevity. “I guess that’s why this record has taken slightly longer,” he says. “Longevity is so important to us. We wanted to make sure that we take great care of the music we put out.”
Speaking of that music, does he anticipate fielding the same accusations of revivalism he fielded following the release of Sun Structures?
“I think we’ll probably just get accused of something else,” he says with a laugh. Walmsley and his bandmates sure can’t win them all, but on the eve of their second album, they seem to be finally okay with that.
Temples plays with Triptides at 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15 at Great American Music Hall. $21. More info here.