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Something Borrowed, Something New

mus featureU.K. band Temples worships old rock gods with an eye toward the future

Many bands form in small suburban towns, then move to the big city to stretch their wings and build a following. In other instances, the members find each other while bumming around the metropolis, working odd jobs to make ends meet. But for U.K. psychedelic revivalists Temples, the story is a bit different.

According to Thomas Warmsley, bassist and back-up vocalist for Temples, he and the rest of his bandmates had all tried to make it in London—about 70 miles from their hometown of Kettering, Northamptonshire—and in other larger U.K. cities, before being driven back home in 2012 by a stagnant economy.

“It’s strange that we were all back in our hometown, which, I guess, lots of people try to get out of,” Warmsley says. “I guess everything happens for a reason.”

It’s possible that the combination of old friends, reuniting in their hometown, contributed to the palpable nostalgia coursing through Temples’ debut LP, Sun Structures, released in February. After all, Kettering was where everyone in the band first started listening to music and learned to play instruments.

Warmsley was back living with his parents—in the home where he first heard Pink Floyd, Yes and Genesis—when he started jamming with James Bagshaw, with whom he would go on to co-found the band.

“I used to play them [his parents’ records], and I kind of sat there and it’s like you’re being told a story,” he recalls. “It’s something that we all love in the band, as well—some kind of, almost, mystery to the music, which, I guess, has stuck with me.”

Many of the tracks on Sun Structures feature propulsive, rollicking, syncopated drum beats, reminiscent of The Beatles in their psychedelic years. The glistening guitar and sitar tones, and reverb-soaked, Fab Four-esque vocal harmonies only serve to strengthen the association.

Warmsley isn’t afraid to own up to his vintage muses. On the title track off Sun Structures, Warmsley turns up the fuzz on his bass, and drummer Sam Toms knocks out a no-nonsense thumping rhythm, which brings to mind the muddy, proto-metal sounds of Black Sabbath and Can, before a wavering, shimmery organ, which wouldn’t seem out of place on one of Led Zeppelin’s dreamier tunes.

The band is familiar with being compared to the leaders of the British Invasion. And while Warmsley doesn’t deny that John, Paul, George and Ringo were influences, he insists that any similarities in Temples’ music cropped up organically.

“We never sat down and said, ‘We want to sound like this, or we want our music to sound retro or vintage,’” Warmsley explains. All the same, he isn’t necessarily disappointed that the sound he and his bandmates hit upon was able to conjure up associations with one of the world’s most famous rock acts. Why would he be, when those associations clearly played a major role in his band’s meteoric rise?

Before solidifying its lineup, Temples was being offered gigs all over the U.K., solely based on its self-released EP on YouTube. A year after forming, the band was sharing the stage with the Rolling Stones.

“I guess, in many ways, people felt quite familiar with us from an early stage,” Warmsley shrugs.


Temples performs at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, April 13 at The Catalyst Atrium, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $12/adv, $15/door. 423-1338.

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