Album Review: Temples, Sun Structures (Reissue) + Sun Restructured

12 TemplesRestructured

By Julien Reverchon

In February 2014 the band from Kettering released its very first album entitled “Sun Structures”. Entirely written and home-produced by singer-guitarist James Edward Bagshaw, the record proved to be a magnificent tribute to all of the best psychedelic sounds from the sixties and the seventies, including obvious influences such as The Byrds or T-Rex.

Even Noel Gallagher – and that means a lot when you know the Chief’s propensity to criticize actual music – praised the immense melodic wealth of this record. No wonder it appears on the list of the year’s best-selling albums. What’s more surprising, though, is the decision of Heavenly Records to reissue it only a few months after, augmented with a remix version named “Sun Restructured”.

See, the problem of remixing an entire album is that it is too often useless (specially when the original is as good as Temples’ first effort…) and filled with insipid downgraded ersatz.

Luckily, the album landed in the expert hands of Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve, a duo made of Erol Alkan & Richard Norris, two excellent DJs and producers who already worked with (among others) Klaxons and Late of The Pier. The record’s title says a lot about their amazing work: it is not just a track-by-track remix, but a complete restructuration, or “re-animation” as the duo explains. The result is probably one of the most exciting rework I’ve heard since Amorphous Androgynous’ remix of Oasis’ “Falling Down”.

The duo kept 9 songs out of the 12 that constitute the original album, but only 5 of them make the real spine of “Sun Restructured”. The others are integrated in the form of interludes, as links in the maze of this new ensemble, offering a 42-minutes long continuous piece of psychedelic and almost ambient music.

The two wizards played with the original work, and appropriated it. They added sounds, new instrument lines. They widened Temples’ music, releasing it from its squared structure and making the classic “verse-chorus” format obsolete. In this sense, few lyrics lines are saved – as the “Take me away to the twilight zone” from “Shelter Song”-, only to give more cosmic vibes to the instrumental orchestration.

When “Sun Structures” sounded like a perfect, clean but almost copy/paste tribute from a band that knows its classics, this restructuration feels more like an appropriation of the whole psychedelic spirit, transcending the sole concept of psychedelic sound. In a way, “Sun Restructured” is a more modern vision of Temples’ influences, and turns to be almost as essential as the original album.