6 Nov 2014

Temples & Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve - Sun Restructured (track by track album review)

Over the past 18 months, Kettering agents of psych, Temples have been the darlings of the music press. Through the release of their first four immensely successful singles, Shelter Song, Colours To Life, Mesmerise and Keep In The Dark, they built themselves a lot of hype and a devout fan-base. Recently they released a remix EP of Shelter Song (if anyone wants to buy a signed copy for £50 + p/p hit me up) which just proved that their glitzy psych pop worked very well when remixed by those that dabble in the more electronic side of music.


Electro-warlock, Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve released a reworking of Move With The Season earlier on this year, and it was so good that the record label insisted he 'reanimate' Sun Structures in it's whole. On Monday (November 10th), an LP of nine remixed Temples tracks is going to hit the shelves, so I examined whether it was any good.

Track 1: Sand Dance
Sand Dance is a straightforward album track which, on Sun Structures alone, is pretty ordinary. What has happened to this track is that Erol Alkan and Richard Norris have taken the riff it revolves around and distorted it, emphasised it, and built it up. There's at least three minutes of intro before James Bagshaw's undistorted voice pries through the noise. Sand Dance is probably much better at the helm of The Wizard's Sleeve, with it's riff combining with the sheer respect that the reanimators have for the original track. 17/20

Track 2: Keep In The Dark
The 4th single from SS is the second track, and it's condensed from 4 minutes to just 109 seconds of mystical power-pop. All the vocals are removed, and so are the clumsy drum thuds that haunt the track. The only sounds you hear of the guitar is the odd strum at the end of a bar;  it's a total reanimation, and it's just a beautiful blend of the harp-like instrument and a vintage soundscape. It's simple, but it's a beautiful couple of minutes of music. 16/20

Track 3: Shelter Song
Everyone has remixed Shelter Song, and it's always great to hear remixes of it. The Temples album version features one of the most wonderful riffs of the past few years, and it's always odd to hear how it's incorporated into said remixes. As a turn up for the books, Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve avoid this completely - the main focus at first is the "aah" backing vocals that are repeated throughout, and a remixed version of the guitar parts infused with a bit of harp. Whilst the instrumentals are gorgeous, Bagshaw's vocals sound almost off, and ghostly, which doesn't really add to the mystical feel they're going for with this reanimation. But still, it's a very good rejig of a perfect pop song. 14/20

Track 4: Sun Structures
The same mystical feel that they go for on Shelter Song, and that the band go for on the original of the title track on their debut is timesed by a thousand. The intro from the original song is the best bit, and on this rework it's emphasised, with the odd bit of extra instrumentation added into the mix to add to the mystique - if there's anything that Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve achieve it's mystique. Unlike their Keep In The Dark, it has a surge of mystical vocals at the end, that just add to the atmosphere, and they match the futuristic sound of the instrumentation perfectly. 19/20

Track 5: A Question Isn't Answered
When Sun Structures came out in February, I felt that the album tracks let it down. Songs like A Question Isn't Answered and The Guesser didn't have much flare, but on here it's quite the opposite. But here, A Question Isn't Answered is turned into a menacing pop song, revolving around an advancing fuzzed out riff - a bit like Elephant by Tame Impala. It's strutting, and it sounds natural and assured - more assured than anything in Temples' discography, or Tame Impala's for that matter. This is just a brilliant reworking, and it creates a great, aloof don't-care atmosphere that you could only experience before now by listening to Pablo Picasso by The Modern Lovers whilst walking through LIDL. 20/20

Track 6: Test Of Time
Sun Restructured seems to follow a bit of a pattern: six minute long reanimated fuzz epic, followed by a dreamy instrumental. Test Of Time kind of sounds the same as the others, but it's instrumentation builds up and builds up, until it's taken away and you're left with a mystical harp motif. 16/20

Track 7: Golden Throne
Slow burning on Sun Structures, it's certainly kept that about it for the Beyond The Wizards Sleeve version. It's pretty, and it hums it's way through a three minute intro before a guitar part playing only chords and some drums (I think it's their first use on the record) announce themselves. vibrantly. I think this song is probably more about the atmosphere it conjures than anything else, because it's seven minute mostly-instrumental (first vox come in at the 5 minute 45 seconds mark) duration is really just has a gorgeous feel to it. 16/20

Track 8: Colours To Life
Golden Throne bleeds into colours to life in a manner that makes it seem immediately more dramatic than the song before it. The first minute of it is just an oscillating synth sound that sounds like it could explode into life, like the colours in the title, at any point. Unfortunately, rather than being a faster moving track, this is a two minute long atmospheric interlude that doesn't quite realise it's potential to shine. 12/20

Track 9: Move With The Season
This is the track that kickstarted the love affair of Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve and Temples, and in short it's a brilliant rework. It sounds very produced, unlike a few of the natural tracks on the album, but that's not an issue here. It sounds very much like Tame Impala, but that's by no means a bad thing. It's a very cool, slightly ambient rework, and a more refined version of a song which, on Sun Structures, is very catchy but verging on annoying. 16/20

Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve have reworked and reanimated Temples' album effectively, and respectively. It's not like some remixes, that leave very little of the old track, this is. as billed, a reanimation. It's fun, and if you know and like these songs you should at least get some enjoyment out of this album And although I don't have any other reanimated albums to compare it to, I think this one is certainly brilliant.

Out: 10th November
On: Heavenly Recordings
Buy it: HERE
Hear: Move With The Season HERE


(written by calum cashin)