Published Saturday, 04 July 2020 11:36
London’s Temples On Mars are part of the modern progressive rock scene, one that filters the eccentricities and pomp of the classic masters (Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, et al) through a glossy mesh of sweet production and 21st-century genre mash-up to produce prog that is easily digested by a new generation yet still retains an otherworldly atmosphere. Their self-titled debut album from 2018 was a beauteous cosmic trip with catchy choruses and rose-coloured melody and was well-received by fans and critics alike.
Parallels V.1 is an EP made up of alternate versions of five of the best songs from that record, and the upgrade on these tunes breathes new life into them to produce almost new compositions. That said, the Temples sound and vision are more intact than ever, so the progginess is still in full effect (more so, in fact), but the overall vibe is more of a Muse circa 2003 with huge swells of electronica and heightened emotion.
‘Death In The Afternoon’ was the strongest song on the original album and retains that title here. Dressed elegantly in trip-hop finery, the mid-tempo lull builds quietly throughout until an industrial frenzy thrusts the listener into an explosive climax. ‘Suicide By Tiger’ (what a killer name) is darker by comparison, but the chorus is huge and expansive, with more than a touch of extra-terrestrial loss and return. The commercial factor is brought right to the forefront with ‘So In Love With Your Own Drug’, where the band show that they are not happy merely to build in the underground, but are aiming for commercial success too. It’s a festival-ready sing-a-long where hugs and tears will be prevalent amongst the crowd, and it’s a clever and wide-eyed move on the band’s part (if that’s what they’re aiming for).
‘Dining With The Devil’ is another big track with dark shadows that builds waves of heartbreak and travels HIM-esque emo avenues. It’s not a very memorable song, but they know their market and this will satisfy their core fans. Album closer ‘Make No Bones’ clings to the saccharine vocal melodies and harmonies with an acoustic foundation and proggy ambience, and it is a fine example of the arena that Temples On Mars play in.
For a new generation of prog adventurers, Parallels V.1 will be a slice of heaven dressed in black, and it has all the prerequisite puzzle pieces in place to make a mark on the more commercial side of the art-rock fence. This is a band to keep your eye on, as they have all the right skills to be a prime mover in their niche genre, and this EP is a classic waiting to happen.