Belefold’s Temple is an amalgamation of twenty-nine, usually short (with the exception of the title track), often intense- lofi compositions. Genre classification is somewhat difficult with this album but I would call it 60’s style space-rock with a hint of psychedelic noise-pop. This dude clearly has a concept in mind, but it’s hard to pin down. Though he lists Olivia Tremor Control, Zappa and the Beach Boys as influences, I couldn’t help but be persistently reminded of Barrett-era Pink Floyd. Intentional or not: from his lax, reverb-laden and almost apathetic vocals to the often startling and unconventional soundscapes, Temple screams early Floyd.
The first track, “Cloud City,” opens with a 50’s style chord progression on a harpsichord and is accompanied by attention grabbing lyrics, “even if I want to, even if I need to… I can’t just make my experience change.” Between the first and final tracks are peaks and valleys of various sorts; some being more vocal-oriented (“Pedestal”), some being more instrument-oriented (“The Reflecting Room … which also stood out for its Native Americanesque vocal work toward the end).
Finally, Temple comes to a close with none other than its ten minute and fifty-six second title track. The track almost warrants an entire review in and of itself. It was my favorite track of the album and I enjoyed the way that its ten plus minutes took me on a ride from something almost meditative and oriental to something heavy and intense and back again – several times and each time in a distinctive new way.
Clearly Belefold intended for this album to be listened to and appreciated as a whole; the tracks flow into each other with surprising ease and sophistication. He actually combined “conventional” bedroom takes with ambient, outdoor recordings and so for me, the standout from this album is the instrumentation. There is an attention to detail on Temple that you don’t find very often. From ambient creaks and skitters to full blown electric guitars and drums; in your face vocals to barely perceptible whispers, the listening journey is wrought with contrasts and enough vicissitude to keep the listener interested and engaged.
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