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Temples - Hot Motion (Album Review)

Wednesday, 02 October 2019 Written by Graeme Marsh

Temples gave themselves a mountainous obstacle to overcome when they released their 2014 debut ‘Sun Structures’. One of the best albums of the year, it was a welcome blast of glam-psych-pop that set a high benchmark for future releases and introduced frontman James Bagshaw’s enigmatic presence.

Sadly, 2017’s follow-up ‘Volcano’ failed to replicate that success. Its highs were way below the stunning peaks that dotted the horizon on their debut, and now their third album ‘Hot Motion’ does its best to halt the slide. Despite claims from the band that this is their “favourite record”, though, the downward trend largely continues. 

Still, it’s not all bad news for fans. The title track and lead single is also the album opener, and it’s the biggest highlight. Boasting a mesmerising riff, infectious beat and dreamy bridge, it’s an excellent start to proceedings. 

The more sedate second single You’re Either On Something continues the good work, with some Kasabian-style twinkle, a pleasingly melodic bridge and floating chorus orbiting a more ethereal core. But, in stark contrast to ‘Sun Structures’, the sequencing leaves something to be desired as the opening one-two salvo is not matched again. 

After some bland asides, halfway through the LP we are treated to The Beam, where one of its more appealing choruses appears as the band churn out one of their familiar T.Rex-inspired stomps. Other than that, it’s left to the excellent closer Monument, where thick, fuzzy guitars (apparently no synths were used on the album, despite several Pond-like swathes appearing), a decent bridge and a memorable chorus all play a role in a cohesive cut.

And that’s the issue with ‘Hot Motion’. Too often we’re left with the suspicion that clips have been stitched together—we all know many artists record snippets of ideas on anything to hand, filing them away for later scrutiny. Atomise illustrates this as a dull acoustic intro leads to racing fuzz and almost trumpeted fanfare. It’s all very disjointed. 

Another T.Rex moment in Step Down squanders a good chorus and Context suffers the same fate as an impressive, swooning bridge is wasted. It’s an irritating trait, and similarly the lacklustre Holy Horses and It’s All Coming Out are more annoying than enjoyable. As for The Howl, well, its melody brings back memories of Bananarama’s Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye), and that’s never gonna end well.

‘Hot Motion’ is a frustrating record, then, rather than a bad one. If Temples had got the stitching right and left a few bum notes on the cutting room floor then things could have been different. One thing’s for certain though: Bagshaw still boasts the best curly mop since the Kevin Keegan perm so, like we said, it’s not all bad.

Temples Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon December 02 2019 - BRIGHTON Komedia
Wed December 04 2019 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Riverside
Fri December 06 2019 - NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
Sat December 07 2019 - SOUTHAMPTON Engine Rooms
Sun December 08 2019 - LONDON O2 Shepherds Bush Empire

Click here to compare & buy Temples Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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