Is psychedilia back? Australia has already got neo-pych rock in the charts with bands such as Tame Impala and Pond, and there are a whole host of South American bands pushing the limits of the genre. I would say it is. UK bands like BEAK>, Clinic, and the Temples who are creating a psychedelic scene once again – for the youth that are trying to find an alternative to the generic sounds being regurgitated time and time again. After getting notable praise from the likes of Jonny Marr, Noel Gallagher and Robert Wyatt for their debut release, Sun Strutures, it is no wonder the band from Kettering have been touted as one of the best new bands this year.
Support comes from the not so psychedelic, Superfood. The Midlands four-piece do a great take on alternative rock. Their sound takes influence from catchy brit-pop greats like Blur and Oasis, and mixing it with the raw uncapped edginess of indie legends The Libertines. Their music certainly got the crowd going with mini mosh-pits forming, and their catchy melodies being reciprocated back to them. Not bad for a support act. Although, for me, their music lacked originality and seemed contrived to the popular Radio 1 demand. Saying that, they were very good in that sense and are sure to continue British guitar music’s ongoing resurgence.
Temples take the stage, living up to their genre’s stereotypical image of skinny jeans, guy liner with dashes of glitter here and there. Straight from the start you are sucked into their perfect psych-rock world. Beautiful droning guitars surround you with their fluid melodies forcing you to sway with the hypnotic power of their beat. Maybe we were all actually hypnotised, as the mesmerising visuals were something you could not take your eye off. Very cleverly done by three old-school overhead projectors (taken straight out of an 80s classroom) that created unique live kaleidoscopes with the use of coloured inks, water, cellophane, a plate, and the three guys controlling them.
A sell-out audience were definitely smitten by the psychedelic trance the Temples were putting them in. The drunkard baby-face crew were out in force and commandeered most of the space nearest the stage, pogoing and moshing at any chance. I just wish I had a band like Temples touring when I was 14 years old and going to my first gigs (not to say Hadouken! weren’t amazing). There were the guaranteed smattering of psychedelic dreamers in the audience, who were loving the floaty sounds and hallucinogenic visuals – although obviously too much of a head-spinner for the bloke on acid behind me. I was also surprised at the amount of mods in attendance, as I thought mods and hippies wouldn’t have been seen dead with each other back in the day.
The Temples often get compared with The Byrds, Pink Flyod and T Rex, but their mix of 60s flower power, 70s krautrock, 80s glam and the baggy 90s create a brilliant modern take on the nostalgic psychedelic rock of the past. Like many of the legendary bands we are to thank for the quintessential British psychedelic sound, you get the feeling that being a band form a small English town was essential to their triumphs. Experimenting with drugs in the country side to fight against the choking tedium of being a young person in an old place, was probably the reason why they became a band in the first place.
There aren’t many bands that are touring their first album and manage to make each song as memorable as the last, which just shows how brilliantly well-constructed their music is. As they near the forefront of success, after a debut album which in my books is already a classic – Do they stay true to their music, perhaps going even more psychedelic like the amazing Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve rework of their album (Sun Restructured), or slot into the commercial success they could have well within their grasp.