Stuck somewhere between sweet instrumentals and a familiar genre
Temples are back with another album, and it’s an ethereal foray into the limits of their capabilities. Hot Motion is out, and hot it is. The record opens with its title track, and right off the bat, they establish the context of their sound. It’s a low-synth submission, and possibly Temple’s most significant release up until now. It’s not a foreign sound to them, but they’ve managed to refine their attack this time around. It’s a clean-cut, and an easy listen for those who endorse the genre.
“Hot Motion” is a standout song. The rolling beat and infectious melody feel like something they learned from Tame Impala, but aside from the imitation, the sound is still something we can groove to. The clouded vocals lead the listener away from a supposed clarity, and into something more inexplicable. It’s easy to get lost in the song, especially in the final moments, as the band plunges into a composition of instrumental prowess.
“Holy Horses” follows on from the same instrumental fervour, and makes use of some pretty monumental melodies alongside rising riffs and a clap-tap bass line. The band enters a heavier sound towards the end of the track, once again allowing for total immersion, or at least an attempt at it.
Tracks like “The Beam” and “Not Quite The Same” feel like the ones for the charts. It’s easy to imagine the band playing them in a stadium full of heads, hands in the air, necks back, eyes closed. Temples creates a brilliant ambiance with this record, and they invigorate their songs with a variety of elements that can appeal to more than just the regulars. It feels like they’re making music for everyone, which is not always a good thing, but it somehow works for them. Temples sing likable songs – they feel happy and unafraid. When those emotions are translated so well in the music, it’s hard not to feel them, and even harder not to gain some kind of appreciation for the people making that music.
Unfortunately, tracks like “You’re Either On Something” and “It’s All Coming Out” are too conceding. Here, Temples conforms to a sound we’ve all heard before, and they fail to bring the ferocious instrumentalism we’ve come to expect of them in the past. “Context” sounds too childish, and if there’s irony in the production that we’re missing, it’s not enough to save the track from mediocrity. It has the elements it needs to be deliberate, but the fun-fair riff pretty much ruins any chance at that. These are the tracks that pull Hot Motion away from brilliance, because they remind us of reality – as much as Temples can push their genre forward, and push it so far that we accept them as the forerunners of it, they’ll never have the bravery to stray away from it. They’re chained to their capabilities, and although they push those capabilities to the limit with this release, we can’t seem to shake the underlying safety of it all. Those who appreciate the versatility in sound, those looking for something more daring, will not find it in this album, but those who have been along for the ride since the very start, will certainly not want to hop off now.