Sunday, March 9, 2014

this isn't tomorrow #1

Simon Price surprisingly indulgent of period accuracy fetish crew Temples:

"Temples don't do things by halves. This isn't a band using psychedelia as merely one of many colours on their palette: Super Furry Animals or the Flaming Lips they ain't. Nor is there any apparent ironic intent whatsoever: frontman James Bagshaw doesn't have an insincere bone in his skinny body. The Kettering quartet's ultra-literalist take on 60s acid rock, which has earned them a Heavenly record deal, the endorsement of trad rock grandees such as Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher, and support slots with everyone from Suede to the Stones after a handful of tracks were anonymously and enigmatically uploaded to YouTube last year, is all about period accuracy.
Baroque, "cosmic" lyrics such as "painting ourselves on a stained glass floor" (Colours to Life) are typical of their debut album, Sun Structures. Their videos, typically, are drenched in the sort of kaleidoscopic effects you'd associate with early footage of the Pink Floyd at Middle Earth. Even their stage gear looks the real deal: the smoke is purple, the amps are Orange, and when Bagshaw switches his electric 12-string for an F-holed semi-acoustic after just one song, you boggle at what sort of vintage guitar museum must surely be lurking backstage....

"The majority of the short 10-song set is mined from the same psychedelic seam and, as a result, the Temples live show is lacking in dramatics and dynamics: it's a flood when it needs to be a fountain.That said, when the strobe-lit overload of finale Mesmerise hits its peak, it attains the kind of surging tidal force that hit Aberystwyth last month. And this 60s shtick is serving Temples well for the meantime. There's a moment during Shelter Song when the entire venue goes nuts, an eruption of flailing limbs and flung lager, and one can almost see the light bulbs flickering into life over a few hundred long-haired heads who've never before heard a rock band playing quasi-Arabic scales drenched in a 10-inch layer of reverb".

You're saying Temples might actually be influential, Pricey? The horror, the horror....

Simon also mentions all the earlier back to the Sixties Psych Era moves - or rather not all (doesn't mention the Soft Boys, and Hoodoo Gurus, and  Mood Six, and Prince circa Around the World, and baggy, and Ocean Colour Scene), but many of them, enough to underline the utter exhausted, done to death, spirit-killing-even-to-think-about redundancy of what Temples are doing.  One thing he points out - the non-irony of Temples versus the comedic/parodic nature of  the early neo-psych (Neil the Hippie doing "Hole In my Shoe", Dr and the Medics, Dukes of euuch Stratosphear that XTC side project), reminded me of a good point I read recently in Linda Hutcheon's A Theory of Parody.  Which is that parody's humorous intent is the justification, the get-out clause,  for what would otherwise be  merely derivative: empty and redundant copying, pointless and sterile formalism.  With parody (a good example is ex-Bonzo Neil Innes, solo and with The Rutles) you enjoy the craft of it in the same way you enjoy the skill of impressionists in the Mike Yarwood/Rory Bremner mold, but that is a secondary aspect, a smaller component, of what is primarily about making fun of something. 

 Retro, then, could be defined as parody without the laughs. 

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