Written by: Ryan Tobin
Three songs in, and it’s very clear that any musician on this album could completely take it over at any given time and make it about them, but they don’t, and that’s what I love most about Terra and Temples.
Temples starts off with a very melodic guitar riff over smooth vocals and great percussion work, which, quite honesty, foreshadows the rest of the album…. And that’s a good thing.
Richard Sepka’s opening line “I need a minute to shake things up” in Blood Orange not only sets up the tone of the album but it seems like this is how he feels about the direction and growth of the band. For those unaware, the band changed its name from Temples to Terra, hence the album name, and that line not only resonates as a lyric fitting for this particular song but how Sepka equally feels about Terra’s direction.
However, it’s not only Sepyka that drives this album as each member takes parts of songs and owns them; it’s great to hear that they’re not a one trick pony. They are all great musicians and it shows throughout this whole album. For example: Nathan Day’s chugging drum riff in “Make it Happen” really carries the song and shows off his range in the backend; and if you’ve already made it this far in the album then it should come as no surprise what he can do back there. Chad Murphy’s dirty guitar towards the end of “Temples” is a lot of fun and adds another layer to an already deep and well-crafted song. Tony McNeil’s bass work is prevalent in Interlude 1 where he essentially drives the bus.
Not only does Terra perform well together but they write well together. “Make it Happen” has some very positive vibes and messages: “you’re going to be the one to make it happen”. “Temples” has a very Alice in Chains vocal feeling to the opening before it quickly changes to a Half Moon Run meets Local Natives feel, especially on drums and guitar, while still maintaining an original sound that makes this album easily listenable over and over again. “Temples” also is a great tribute song to their former name and feel. It’s like they’re shedding their skin and starting fresh. “Oil” has a very nice start to the song and, to me, most represents Terra as a band – Melodic, catchy guitars, great vocal work (especially when Sepyka rhymes over two measures without stopping); and of course, very creative percussion work.
Terra realizes that working together and strength in numbers is better than any single artist trying to showcase just themselves and they nailed this concept. These guys are all players, from Murphy’s scintillating guitar work, Day’s subservient percussive work, and Sepyka’s ranging melodies and thought provoking lyrics. Terra embody what Aristotle said when he coined the phrase “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.