Album Review: Alfie Templeman - 'Mellow Moon'

19-year-old rising indie-pop sensation Alfie Templeman has released his long-awaited debut album Mellow Moon. A definitive summer record with its upbeat synths, drums and guitars, Amrit Virdi shares her thoughts on how the debut fares for the singer.


After seeing Alfie Templeman on tour at Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms a couple months back, his sheer talent as a young singer-songwriter shone through his performance and made me extremely excited for his debut album. His 2021 ‘mini-album’, Forever Isn’t Long Enough, showcased his ability to blend the worlds of indie and pop in an upbeat way, and this is definitely a trope which has carried through to his official debut album.


"Driven by an acoustic guitar and echoing vocals, Templeman’s lyricism ending the album on a reflective note with lyrics such as ‘’do you ever miss the time where you were safe and sound?’’ demonstrating his music evolving with his age."

Titled Mellow Moon, with the album artwork depicting Templeman sat atop a roof wistfully looking at a purple sky and beaming moon, I expected the record’s production to reflect an other-worldly, escapist side of indie-pop, perhaps leaning more towards dreampop or the sound of bands such as Drug Store Romeos. Through an excessive use of synth, Templeman and co. certainly achieved this. Galaxy, even by its title, fits the bill of this, as well as the upbeat Folding Mountains, with its use of echoing vocals and references to nature bringing the listener to picture themselves in a perhaps otherworldly summer setting – perfect for the album’s summer release.


Previously released singles Colour Me Blue, 3D Feelings, Leaving Today and Broken all encapsulated the upbeat summer tone of the album by featuring glittering synths and instrumental build ups along with prominent basslines, which define the majority of the album. My one critique of Templeman is that a lot of the tracks sound similar. In the future, it would be good to see the rising indie star experiment more with his sound, perhaps straying away from fitting firmly in the indie-pop genre. Despite this, delving into the lyrics and production of the tracks reveals subtle but important differences in the tracks to make them different in the listening experience.



Upon a first listen, Templeman’s vocal and musical maturity is what stood out to me. His soft vocals open the album on A Western, which carry through to the second track You’re A Liar. The inclusion of strings to stray away from his usual indie pop synth tropes was welcome – in general, the instrumentation seems far more developed than his previous work. Take Some Time Away employs strings and an acoustic guitar along with an electric guitar solo, working well with the slight key change at the end of the song uplifting the track. Perhaps one of my favourite moments on the album though, closing track Just Below The Above saw a ballad-like note from the singer, which I did not expect to hear. Driven by an acoustic guitar and echoing vocals, Templeman’s lyricism ending the album on a reflective note with lyrics such as ‘’do you ever miss the time where you were safe and sound?’’ demonstrating his music evolving with his age.


Having been open about his struggles with mental health and specifically anxiety, Templeman’s lyrical expressions of his inner thoughts disguised within the up-tempo tracks to cater to those looking for feel-good tracks and those looking for deeper lyricism define parts of the record. Candyfloss is an example of a track which you can’t help but dance to, yet its lyrics including ‘’life’s a little too hard for us’’, ‘’sometimes life can feel like it’s hard to cross’’ and ‘’trust me it gets better’’. The singer even references himself as having a ‘’mid-life crisis at the age of eighteen’’ in Do It, but uses the track to give his fans an empowering and comforting message with the chorus of ‘’you got the power, so just believe’’. With Templeman having predominantly a young fanbase, seeing him using his platform to spread mental health awareness cleverly paired with upbeat production to keep listeners engaged is heart-warming to see. The deeper tracks are also paired with lighter ones, including my personal favourite Best Feeling. If this is what the debut has offered us, the only way is up for Alfie Templeman now as he continues his growing domination of the indie-pop scene.


Amrit Virdi

 

Edited by: Elliot Fox


In article images courtesy of Alfie Templeman via Facebook. Video courtesy of Alfie Templeman via YouTube.