2014 has been quite the year for Kettering rock band Temples. They were a surprise choice for Rough Trade’s album of the year, recipients of public blessing from both Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher while sound tracking a ubiquitous summer Strongbow advert.  Little surprise then their sold out Ritz show has something of a Christmas party feel to it.

The crowd is a curious mix of tie-dye shirts and paisley scarfs; Weller wannabes shuffle in toward the bar while bountiful adolescents doused in glitter march to the front. I’m left in no doubt which side of the battle line I’m on, sipping a Guinness a safe distance from the crowd surfing kids.

A pounding kick drum intro for first tune Sun Structures and the crowd comes alive. Working their way through their debut album of the same name, Temples demonstrate a flair for taking a range of sixties influences and welding them into a cohesive, if not at all modern sound.

Behind the band a projection feed is ablaze with bright colours, the sort you’d traditionally associate with sixties rebellion, or pure Jam-bands like The Grateful Dead. That’s not the only enthralling sight on stage; singer James Bagshaw’s curly barnet has unimaginable circumference. I’ve literally never seen hair like it.

Surprisingly, the band are joined infrequently by a series of string instruments which seems particularly high budget for the size of the show. It is fine attention to detail but it adds little to the mix when so often this would be the icing on the cake.

Understandably, within a couple of seconds of ‘Keep In The Dark’, the whole place goes wild; a surefire festival favourite to come. Their best though is main set closer ‘Shelter Song’- live, and on record the band’s finest hour. It’s abundantly clear their aim is to emulate The White Album, but I’ve no issue with paying homage to your heroes when it’s done with such aplomb.

Too often though, it all feels a bit safe. Away from the singles Temples songs have a tendency to plod, a sort of Tame Impala-lite. That may be a little harsh given that improvement the Aussies made from their debut to the glorious Lonerism but the feeling at this stage is Temples would benefit from being a little braver.

Come the encore and it is wig-out time. The band finally hit full psych mode, kicking out a wonderful groove that veers into the territory Spiritualized hit with Lazer Guided Melodies. Ten minutes of Mesmerise closes the show at a rather prompt 10pm, an acceptable time for the sweaty young bucks being collected by their parents and perfect for those with Guinness in hand to roll into the night.

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Joseph Curran

Features Editor and gig reviewer