As the band many claim are at the very forefront of Britain’s psychedelic-rock revival, Temples certainly have big shoes to fill. Early comparisons to the likes of Flaming Lips and The Beatles may have been somewhat premature, but returning with a new album and a meatier, more visceral sound, the Kettering quartet show no signs of slowing down as they blast through a spellbinding set in front of a sold out crowd at Electric Brixton.
Tousle-haired lead singer James Bagshaw cuts a dashing figure as the band stroll leisurely onto the stage. Dressed in a figure hugging attire, the frontman wastes little time with pleasantries, delving straight into the kaleidoscopic All Join In from the band’s latest release, Volcano.
The influences of international contemporaries MGMT and Tame Impala are plain to see as the quartet fire up the crowd, dropping in old favourites such as Colours to Life and Sun Structures, along new tracks Roman God-Like Man and Certainty. There’s more than a wiff of Sergeant Pepper about the former, dripping with reverb and catchy, upbeat lyrics, whilst the latter soars with a delightful mix of harmonic vocals and dreamy synths.
The new material continues to impress. A particular highlight is (I want To Be Your) Mirror; a frenetic-paced number that showcases the very best of drummer Samuel Toms and bassist Thomas Walmsley handiwork. Relentless, encapsulating and infinitely more raw, it’s clear that Temples have been busy polishing their live sound; the new record simply doesn’t do justice to the complexity and depth of sound they are now capable of producing.
That’s not to say that the band’s older material pales in comparison, however. The likes of Keep In The Dark and Move With The Season are still ripe for a good old-fashioned sing along, with the audience only too happy to oblige. There are quieter moments too, with the eerily beautiful How Would You Like To Go? hovering like an intoxicating mist, reverberating around the Brixton venue. “All the strangers walk by. All the strangers passing by,” hums Bagshaw in a trance-like state that has the audience mesmerised.
Returning for the encore, the foursome have saved their best till last. First up is a rousing rendition of A Question Isn’t Answered. It’s early T-Rex on acid, distorted, punchy glam-rock that boggles the mind and feels like being steamrolled by a marching band of hippies.
Rounding proceedings off with Shelter Song the effortlessly upbeat opener from the band’s 2014 debut, Bagshaw raises his guitar in salute before disappearing into the night, reverb clinging to the walls of the venue long after the band have departed. With more sun-spangled tunes in their arsenal and slots at Latitude and Glastonbury festivals to follow this summer, Temples are most certainly an act on the rise.