Promising stuff from a young new talent
Will Craigie
16:52 31st January 2020

More about:

Music is a young person’s game now. And by young, I mean really young. Many up-and-coming artists who are shaping the current musical landscape are mere teenagers - or just barely out of their teens. Billie Ellish (who, given the media coverage, seemed to invent the concept of the teenager), Rex Orange County, Declan McKenna, Shawn Mendes, Juice Wrld (RIP), Mahalia, Lil Nas X... Undoubtedly, it's a good thing - Cher was 19 when she released 'I Got You Babe' with Sonny, remember. Young artists can be innovative, daring, exciting and eager to push the boundaries of a world full of rules that they didn’t create. True, it can also lead to rather boring, generic and uninspired work. You are either edgy or you’re basic. Luckily, Alfie Templeman fells into the former category.

Now only 17, Templeman released his first EP in 2018 at the age of 15. Live, Templeman brings a boyish, mellow charm to music that wears its influences on its sleeve while retaining a level of uniqueness and intrigue. Topping the bill of the sold out Day 2 of LUNACINCOS festival, Templeman is full of fun, overwhelmed, youthful energy. He is gracious and warm. This is unsurprising considering he is headlining an event in Hoxton at 17, whilst I was attempting to be served in my local Wetherspoons at the same age (it didn’t work). 

His music is a mixture of Mac Demarco-esque lo-fi, chamber pop, psychedelica and funk rock, with a new exclusive tune aired tonight resembling early Red Hot Chili Peppers. The spacey wistfulness of 'Don’t Go Wasting Time' resonates with the similarly aged audience, whilst breakout hits 'Orange Juice' and 'Like an Animal' sound better live now than they did when he released them at 15. Lyrical finesse is his one drawback. Whilst songs such as 'Who I Am' engage with Generation Z reliability and truth, the recurrence of love songs that do not say anything personal and thought provoking about the subject prevents a deeper emotional connection. The absence of 'Sunday Morning Cereal', his most interesting track, is noticeably absent from the setlist. 

Templeman's work clearly speaks to the audience however, who lap it all up. From his very impressive guitar playing (he gets so into it all that he breaks the strap and then has to hold it “like a baby” for the rest of the performance) to the brief, impromptu cover of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. He ends the gig crowd surfing, clearly loving every minute of the performance along with the audience. If he's this good at 17,  the next decade looks bright for Templeman. 

More about:

Photo: Katie McLellan-Salisbury