Luke Temple is not new to the music circle. I saw the band
open for Grizzly Bear in Boston for a friend's birthday back
in 2009. After hearing their set, I turned to my friend and with empathetic
sarcasm said, "that's where they'll always be, they'll always
be on the opening stage." But with the release of Pigeons,
Temple and friends proved me wrong - the band had solidified their
color and direction, nestling in their own niche of the indie nest.
A lot of music critics talk about "growth" or "development"
as if a band is a unanimous single-celled organism being cultured
in a petri dish. Generally, I find such observations to lack verisimilitude
(and imagination), but in Temple's case the height of exploration
between each release is so salient that his deliberation and effort
remain lucid. The January EP is a wide stride for the band,
as Temple and company walk all over the conventions of popular music
songwriting. For example, "Tulip," the first song on
January, is in 5/4 (adding an extra beat to the typical 4/4 found
is most popular songs). "Song In Three" is a slight misnomer
to the third track, as the guitar riff shifts from 7/8 to 8/8 while
beating against an underlying pulse of 3. These metric choices jar
the listeners and tantalize our intellect, but most importantly sound
interesting. It is this intent, I think, that makes The January
EP monumental for Temple.
Now, meddling with meter is not revolutionary (see the nonisochronous
variations of The Dirty Projectors) but it adds zest and sparkle
that makes this EP feel more than just a collection of meaningless
demos. The remaining tracks stay true to Temple's delicate craft;
the narrative prowess of "Hollywood" is heartbreaking, "Hands
In The Sky" is haunting, while "Backwards Time" remains
retroactive to its predictable aesthetic - 80's chorused guitars are
plucked over a synthesized organ sound.
This collection of songs, I am hoping, foreshadows songs and ideas
yet to come. For Temple is pushing his process away from the stagnancy
and redundancy. The efforts are evident, but let me see the LP.
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