As I’ve stated many times in my reviews here at 50thirdand3rd, there isn’t much this world has to offer that’s more satisfying as garage rock. Naturally over-driven guitars, slinky bass, nervous beats and raw vocals is just as much part of Americana culture has Chevrolet and cherry pie. There’s just something intoxicating and liberating about sloppy do-it-yourself rock n roll that it’s next to impossible to put into words. It’s really more of a feeling than an opinion. I’ve tried explaining that feeling so many times, it’s not even worth trying again for the sake of this review. You know what it is, I know what it is, and clearly Greenway Records know what it is.
On their self-titled 10″ debut, the Dublin, Ireland trio Black Temple Shrines waste no time getting down to business. “Cryin’ Shame” opens with a melancholy guitar intro before ripping into a satisfyingly familiar surf rock riff that’s equal parts Ventures and The Cramps. By the time the Roky Erickson meets Bleach-era Cobain vocals start, you know you’re in for something dangerous and soulful. And your observations are correct!
Throughout the six songs that make up this EP, you will hear all sorts of references to classic acts such as the aforementioned 13th Floor Elevators and The Cramps, but also modern acts such as The Black Angels and maybe even a hint of early Black Keys, but what sets this band from those acts is the authenticity of being a truly independent band has to offer. Instead of trend chasing pretentiousness, Black Temple Shrines play their concoction of eerie surf rock and garage blues with conviction and legitimacy. This isn’t a band pretending to be cool, they’ve mastered it and play to their strengths.
“Death Rattle” is a gothic twist that wouldn’t be out of place in a scene right out of Return Of The Living Dead, while “Sick & Hungry” and “Shiver n’ Shake” utilize the atmospheric dirge of reverb slathered sexiness and demented romance to bring a solid mix of classic rock n roll with brooding medium tempo jams. The variety is well rounded and perfectly track listed to ensure both sides are equally mysterious and fun. My personal favorite track is the emotional and creepy “My Baby’s Dead”, a quick blues jam that closes the album perfectly.
Black Temple Shrines is available exclusively though Greenway Records on 10″ vinyl. Both variants ( “Rough Sea” splatter, and transparent “Sea Blue”) are available in very limited qualities and went on sale May 15th. With such a low amount pressed, they will surely become a collector’s item sooner than later! Head over there and pick one up before they’re gone!
For more information on Black Temple Shrines, visit their Facebook page.
To order the Black Temple Shrines 10″ on vinyl, visit Greenway Records