Review: Temples @ Manchester Academy 2

Urban Dictionary defines hairography as the use of hair and flashy clothing to make up for lack of ability and rhythm.

The long hair and luxe vintage garms definitely made an appearance on stage on Friday night at Manchester’s Academy 2. Fortunately for Temples, when on stage their swoon-worthy style is met with equal substance.

Having recently released their third LP Hot Motion, Temples are back with a fresh round of tour dates, seamlessly slotting new tracks into the old. The new, however, come with sharper edges.

Where once there was a shimmery tone to their tunes, Temples’s new riffs lean towards the meaner realm of pure rock.

Lifted from Hot Motions, first track The Howl talks directly to the people, commanding them powerfully to “raise your head up, stamp your feel”. Immediately, Temples showcase their departure from their previous album’s sound. Following quickly with Certainty from 2017’s Volcano, the slight shift over time from soothing and melodic to chunky and angst-tinged is clear.

The venue isn’t full tonight, and it’s a fact not lost on the band.

“You’re our quietest ever Manchester show,” they comment. Perhaps shaken by such an attack on Manchester gig-lovers’ reputation, the crowd perks up a little from then on, and the jolt in energy from the floor is thanked with a satisfied “that’s better.”

It becomes clear that it is the tracks from debut release Sun Structures make for favourites among tonight’s fans. Keep in the Dark is joyfully floating in its switching between the teasing, quiet verse and a larger, nostalgia-inducing chorus – interrupted only by a bridge of harmonies that give an opportunity to show that these guys can very much sing outside a studio.

Early single Shelter Song further feeds the crowd’s vigour, providing an immediate throwback to a Beatles heyday.

Temples are hometown heroes for someone before them this evening, as a vintage Kettering Town FC scarf is suddenly launched onto the stage.

Whilst they may receive less notoriety these days than other prides of their Northamptonshire homeland (take James Acaster and annual arts weekend KetFest, to name a couple), their performance shows that Temples are something to be proud of. In an era of waning guitar music, the psych-rock outfit are able to grace a stage and present a craft quite unlike what other bands are doing – in this day and age, at least.

The band mark their encore exit with two more tracks from some time ago, Sun Structures and Mesmerise. A transition in sound might be necessary for bands between albums but when presented tonight these early songs prove that it is still Temples’ former sound that defines them – and is what makes them loved.

With each new release from Temples, whose existence now stems nearly a decade but whose influences not-so-subtly date back six, they are met with accusations of straight ‘60s-ripping and lack of meaning from critics.

But when on stage, wrapped in a wall of their signature psych-y sound and super style that are, if nothing else, delightful to feel lost in, these charges don’t matter.

A Temples gig is fun, technically sublime and for the fans.

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