Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Shelter Song” by Temples from the 2014 album Sun Structures on Fat Possum.
Psychedelic rock has seen a bit of resurgence in recent years, particularly from scenes in Austin and Western Australia, so it must be refreshing to fans of the genre to have a brilliant English group like Temples to join in on the revival. Formed by singer/guitarist James Edward Bagshaw and bassist Thomas Edison Warmsley in the summer of 2012 as a home studio project, the duo quickly discovered an ability to write songs that, while based in the first wave of British psychedelia, certainly falls closer to “homage” than “imitation”. By the end of the year, the pair had released four songs onto YouTube, one of which (“Shelter Song”) was picked up by Heavenly as their debut single. Fast forward to summer 2013, and the band have expanded to include drummer Sam Toms and keyboardist/guitarist Adam Smith, they’ve won praise from Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher (who hates everything), and they’re opening for the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park.
Hoping to outdo their banner 2013 (or at least equal it) this year, the band’s debut album, Sun Structures, finally arrives next month. “Shelter Song” may have been one of the band’s earliest tunes, but it remains one of their best. Bagshaw and Warmsley’s feel for melody almost thrives off the pair’s relative inexperience, giving their chiming guitars a little more shine and their lyrics (“now I know the lonely days are gone... like a summer day that’s always long”) a charming amount of earnestness. Temples often get compared to Tame Impala, quite arguably the predominant modern psychedelic rock band, but a more accurate touchstone is The Horrors, a group who have gradually refined their cloudy, shoegaze gloom into something more incandescent. But where Faris Badwan and co. are trying to wrap their sonic haze around light-filled melodies, Temples are more than happy to simply reflect the sunshine that they take in, and if that’s how they create psych-pop gems like “Shelter Song”, then it’s okay being just a reflector.
Temples are touring behind Sun Structures all spring, including a stop in Seattle at Neumos on April 9. Get tickets and more info on that 21+ show here, keep up with the band at their website and Facebook, and watch the video for “Colours To Life” below.