Temples Make Their Mark on Most Mainstream Rock LP Yet: ‘Exotico’

It’s been well over three years since the last album from Temples hit airwaves and the band graced our pages. We could comment on the intensity of those three years and the impact it had on artists and everyday people alike. That would make sense? That would be appropriate? Right? Sure, you could say that honing in on your talents and sound during a period of angst, stress, fear, and loneliness could be beneficial, and we’re not saying that this isn’t the case with Temples. What we are saying, though, is that this new record is much more than the outcome of the last handful of years. Instead, it is a culmination of influences, live shows, and personal reflection that keeps this band on the mind and on the up-and-up.

Exotico came out in full on Friday, just three days ago, and much like the last three years, we’re all caught up in quite a lot. This past weekend was the first of two for the pop culture sensation and music festival that is Coachella. These last three days saw Netflix’s live finale of Love Island get cancelled, the first stills of the Wicked movie (out November 2024) came out, and – if you’re in our area – both Adam Sandler and Bruce Springsteen took local stages. This weekend was not only full of release excitement for Temples, either, but Overkill’s 20th record dropped, as well, and Metallica, too, whose new LP, 72 Seasons, was birthed in tandem with Exotico. Still, amid all the anticipation, preoccupied mindsets, and drama, Temples shines through. They are a model band, one that should be paid attention to, and surviving the last few days with talent up their sleeve, big hearts in their chest, and new music under their belt proves such.

Diving into Exotico means diving into a new wave of psychedelia. It’s grunge-esque, yet surf-y, still indie lyrically, and sonically unique in its psychedelic instrumentation. Just shy of being a whole one hour long, this new album shows the four-piece getting deeper than ever with the stories they tell. It’s always been about the music for them (Of course!), but there is a newfound fluidity in the way they combine existentialist themes with thought-provoking musicality. For some 58 minutes, you don’t feel caught up in this whirlwind life. You also don’t question the 16 bouncing, rock adjacent tracks you’re listening to. Exotico is just Temples being Temples and you’re able to just listen with a surprising amount of ease.

Temples’ muse was not one of hard times, quarantines, and news-watching. The band looked inward, grounded themselves, and set out to make Exotico, a record that feels separate from the lives lived and the lives lost the 2020s thus far. Any and all generations can connect to the act of sitting alone at night and over-thinking to the point of madness, experimenting within the fleeting worlds of life and death before slumber takes over once again. Vocals are layered, lo-fi, and appropriate hint at the sounds of bedroom pop. Going from “Cicada” to “Oval Stones” to “Slow Days” is a run of melody-laden tracks earlier on in the record. It keeps you on the edge of your seat with psychedelic rock influences taking center stage; the lyrics at hand immersive and intimate. These songs, and much of the album, pack a punch, but the more you listen, the more you notice the energy shifts between moments, the understanding and realization that this is a band that is headstrong, throaty in every meaning of the word, and versatile.

“Liquid Air” creeps along and glimmers throughout, never losing stride in its six minute run as the album opener. Single “Afterlife” is a latter standout ahead of the short, but sweet closer, “Movements of Time.” An artistic, cool-toned, borderline pastel beach scene as an album cover feels complete with these songs, aiding in the more pop-leaning psych work from the Brit-rock band. It comes down to the fact that the musings actually found in this fourth Temples installment are that of inner exploration through the work of jangly guitar riffs, radio-ready vocals, stacked drum fills, and unceasing (albeit memorable) creativity within the push-and-shove of the real world.