Temples dropped their debut Sun Structures in 2014, perking ears with their retro look and sound, locking into the psych pop/rock resurgence brought to the mainstream by Kevin Parker and Tame Impala just a few years earlier. Their 70s haircuts and Partridge Family-adjacent outfits matched perfectly with their slightly woozy but pop-centric sound.
Temples has just released their fourth full-length, the big and boisterous Exotico. Produced by Sean Ono Lennon and mixed by Dave Fridmann, Exotico has exquisite production that brings the band’s sound alive. Touches of 80s electro put the band’s psychedelic pop sound to new sonic territory, while still staying true to the sound the band has been curating for nearly a decade now.
“Liquid Air” opens Exotico in a haze of late 2000s indie rock DayGlo. MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular haunts this album opener with overblown drums, 70s synth touches, and sounds that whiz by your ears in hazy glee. “Gamma Rays” has a sense of urgency to it, while giving us earworm melodies. “Cicada” has a Middle Eastern lean to it, with slight psychedelic coloring around the edges. “Giallo” has alien-esque melodies and dreamy vocals, while “Time Is A Light” sounds like some long lost mid-80s electro pop track.
There’s plenty of meat on the bones of these songs, offering up richly-layered pop songs with lush production and melodies that hang in the air long after the song ends. The problem is that at nearly an hour Exotico feels a little long in the tooth. With a little paring down to say 12 songs instead of 16, and 45 minutes as opposed to nearly an hour this would have been a much tighter and engaging listen.
Despite what feels like a too long of runtime, there’s still plenty to sink your teeth into on Exotico. Temples can still write a great song, and they know just the right amount of sonic confections to perk ears up.