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Julian Temple Band - Album Review: Tunnels

23 Oct 2023 // A review by roger.bowie

What tunnels have I been hiding in? Here’s a band from Dunedin with now seven albums out and first time for me. I think I’ll shift back home… (nah, too cold…) 

The Julian Temple Band are contemporaries of Six60, having formed in 2004 and releasing their debut album in 2006. Julian is originally from California and moved here with his folks in the early noughties. Julian was born to music with a lute paying father and a jazz thumping rag-time piano playing mother. Against the backdrop of tragedy, Julian’s story is nonetheless a blessing without disguise to our welcoming ears.

For thematically the album tells a dark tale of the reality of dementia, namely as suffered by Julian’s mother, imagined by him in a metaphor called multiverse as she escapes her demons, and he tries to communicate. It’s a sad story, but one which we are blessed with through the evocative panorama of the music and the stories in the songs which can only be redemptive. Well, I hope so. 

His is a big band, and they tour extensively, lugging their gear around the country here and across the ditch. Layers of avant-garde strings from Alex Vaastra, progressive synth keys from Logan Hampton, soaring guitar bursts from Andy Straight, and the tightest of jazz funk rhythm from Stephen Marshall on bass and PMK (Paul McLennan-Kissel) on drums. All supporting the acoustic jangle and raspingly dark vocal tones from Julian himself. There’s definitely a prog streak permeating the sound, so no shortage of branches to hang on to as we ride the floods through these tunnels, mainly of the mind.

These are the Tunnels through which he takes us on this musical journey, these are the creatures which are Blind As A Bat, lost in the mind and lost in the body, these are the hooks and crannies of seeing and hearing and speaking No Evil introduced by a drum burst segue and inspired by a dream about the Japanese monkeys. Amazing outro. These are the special little places in hell where Guilt is the only dish and served cold on a platter of dazzling guitar. Take it away. And this is the Library with all the memories about who is best in the west and the most on the Coast. 

In part Dave Matthews, in other parts Steven Wilson, put them together and there’s the sound of Genesis floating around in crescendo-ing outros. Some poppy work has a Roxy ring with their Head In The Clouds, and some Strokes punk rock as we Hide Away. And finally, a Little Blood on the floor as we watch out for the Slippery Slope on the black ice with our eyes blacked out and watch out also for the arrow.

The Julian Temple Band’s latest release will hit you like an arrow, wound you with dark tales, but ultimately heal you with inspiring sound. Outstanding sound; outstandingly recorded and analogued in a Sublime Studio way in the copses and coppices of Kurow.

 

About Julian Temple Band

Singer-songwriter Julian Temple was born into a diverse family of working musicians, with his mother, a dixie-land jazz pianist, and his father a classical lute player, giving him his first musical inspirations. Earliest memories include playing with toys and singing under his mother's antique grand piano as she vamped away to her original sheet music by the likes of Irving Berlin, Jelly Roll Morton, Rudy Vallee, Al Jolson and all the ragtime greats. The youngest of three, Temple taught himself the guitar at the age of 12 and immediately started writing his own material.

Fast forward to 2004 and Julian Temple Band formed in Dunedin by a group of keen music students attending the University of Otago. A far cry from dixie-land, the band employs a wide variety of contemporary musical styles including blues, jazz and rock and roll to communicate their curious vignettes on life, love, loss, addiction, environmentalism, and mental health. With an innate desire to share their love for music and "induce the jamboree", Julian Temple Band are known for their extreme touring habits and energetic live performances. Members include jazz and experimental drummer Paul McLennan-Kissel (Entire Alphabet, Onsombil), funk-rock-reggae bassist Steve 'Seedy' Marshall (Left Or Right), Doors-esque keyboardist Logan Hampton (Alizarin Lizard), classical and avant-garde violinist Alex Vaatstra (Ha The Unclear, Grawlixes, Matt Langley), indie electric guitarist Richard Ley-Hamilton (Males, Asta Rangu) and singer-songwriter-guitarist Julian Temple.

JTB have independently released six albums; In Sea (2006), Quiet Earth (2009), Balance Escapes (2010), Upsidedownbackwards (2012), Ceiling In The Sky (2015), and Antarctica (2018) and toured extensively through the U.S.A., Australia and New Zealand.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Julian Temple Band

Releases

Tunnels
Year: 2023
Type: Album
Antarctica
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Ceiling In The Sky
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Upsidedownbackwards
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Nowhere Fast
Year: 2011
Type: Album
Balance Escapes
Year: 2010
Type: Album
Quiet Earth
Year: 2009
Type: Album
In Sea
Year: 2006
Type: Album

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