London-based alternative prog-rock band Temples on Mars give a handful of their existing tracks a stripped down alt-pop flavour in Parallels V.1.
The idea of recording alternative versions of a few songs off their debut self-titled album, which was released in 2018, had been floating around for a while but it was an invitation to play an acoustic set live on Expresso while touring South Africa that made it a reality.
The result is 5 tracks that bring an entirely new perspective to the originals. Temples on Mars is a band built around marrying different styles to create a singular, accessible prog-rock sound but Parallels V.1 steers clear of that formula – giving the songs a murkier, more sinister identity.
Where the original “Death in the Afternoon” channels a more straightforward rock sound, the Parallels version is far more patient and quietly menacing in its simplicity. The same can be said for “So In Love With Your Own Drug”, which has been given its own subtly evocative video. There’s a sense of reluctance in the verses, as if vocalist James Donaldson is putting off being completely honest – a battle he loses in the chorus as his voice rises above the mournful synth and persistent drum-beat.
A risky remake of an album pays off delightfully as Parallels V.1 takes each song in an entirely different direction, giving them a whole new layer of meaning.