Temple Music started as a solo project of English musician Alan Trench, also known for his work with World Serpent and the dark folk band Orchis. For this release Alan, on guitar, synths, vocals and programming, is joined by Stephen Robinson (The Beloved) on bass, synths, and harmonium, R. Loftiss (Gray Field Recordings, Language of Light) on vocals and Frank Suchomel (Inalonelyplace, Language of Light) playing keyboards. Although coming out of the avant-folk scene, Temple Music also has roots in the European ritual/ambient/drone music of such acts as Hybrids, Mirror and Coil.
MIRRORS: Opens with white noise buzz and goes directly into uptempo pop rock. The nice lead vocal by Alan Trench kinda reminds me of some classic Echo and the Bunnymen or the Teardrop Explodes, but still keeping the experimental/underground credibility….”mirrors are windows” yes indeed!! CHILDREN OF THE SUN: Slower tempo on this but still with rock format! Nice feel, quality pop done for the right reasons! Alan Trench and R. Loftiss singing together and some badass Trench guitar. Very impressive! A pop anthem, reminds me of Swans during their folk phase! ISM: And the hits keep coming, mid-tempo drum machine thump along with a nice melody. Sounds a bit like the Police “Every Step You Take”. Some more intriguing lyrics – “the only way out, he said, is through”. DEATH WENT FISHING: This one reminds me of Nikki Sudden. A beautiful damaged profound pop gem! The R. Loftiss vocal is so perfectly sung and mixed on all these songs that you don’t really notice unless you’re listening for it! It just adds a lightness and female energy. MOMENTUM: Opens with industrial driving drum machine along with ethereal synths, then comes the distant punk guitar as the drums fade out! Very odd, almost upside down mix with the guitar buried and synth swooshes to the forefront! Now the Stephen Robinson harmonium! As everything else goes away…then the big out front acoustic guitar of strumming loveliness!!…along with some very nice keys by Frank Suchomel…..Oh, and when the vocals finally come in, they just keep sounding cooler and cooler! Probably the most unique track on the CD without completely departing from the pop/rock format! More of the excellent lyrics by Trench/Robinson….starts to hit a nice groove musically like the Krautrock bands Harmonia/Cluster etc…and more of the great Trench guitar!! Also, this track is nice and long, my only complaint about this CD is that it’s too short! Yes, the more port I drink the better it sounds!! Outro’s with harmonium spaciness. WARLORD OF THE ROYAL CROCODILES: This is kind of a hidden track, a Marc Bolan cover…opens with loud guitar explosion….the hit!!…very cool uptempo with nice R. Loftiss vocals, driving guitar and rhythm! Hits bizzarro chanting otherness! Wow, short and sweet, this one should have gone on for another 20 minutes at least.
This edition comes with a hand-painted cover by Alan Trench with gold stamping throughout and a separate lyric sheet.
For more information visit http://www.anticlock.net/templemusic.htm
Reviewed by Carlton Crutcher