Don’t Act Like You Don’t Care is Luke Temple’s third solo album, which only goes to show I’ve still got a lot of catching up to do. I first heard about him through his band Here We Go Magic, and only heard about them through a band they supported on tour – namely the wonderful Grizzly Bear.
But Temple’s solo work pre-dates the existence of Here We Go Magic, and so too do large parts of this record, which Temple began before Here We Go Magic’s eponymous debut caught the public’s attention. It meant this record got put on a shelf for a couple of years before he had time to return to it and finish it off.
For anyone new to Temple or Here We Go Magic, Grizzly Bear seem like a great reference to bring up. Because Temple mines the same rich seam of psych-folk, and any fan of Edward Droste et al is likely to be a fan of this.
But where Grizzly Bear and, indeed, Here We Go Magic have produced highly elaborate productions on their albums to date, there is a stripped-back feel to Temple’s latest solo outing. It is especially apparent on the scratchy opener ‘In The Open’ but still somehow true of the more polished tracks like ‘More Than Muscle’. It’s an an album of contradictions – there are layers and layers of instrumentation to this album, hundreds of different sounds to explore with every listen, but the overall vibe is still of a collection put together in somebody’s bedroom.
Back before he had Here We Go Magic to distract him, Temple was referring to this as his ‘country record’. ‘How Could Muscle’ and ‘Ophelia’ have a definite southern twang to it, but this album is rammed full of too many different sounds to be so easily pigeon-holed.
Things slow down on the second half of the record, which is almost entirely acoustic until closer ‘Luck Part’. Temple lets his delicate, beautiful vocals carry the weight, but still filters them through a thick layer of hiss to maintain the low-fi feel. The beauty here is in the simplicity, although if anything things slow too much in the almost stationary ‘You Belong To Me’, and you wonder if some of the threads that should hold this collection together became frayed during the long hiatus.
It’s a frustrating notion, because when this album is good, it is seriously good. It just doesn’t quite hang together as a whole.