Agreeing to review Templo’s newest EP Mountains Can’t Cry was a bit of a stretch for me; a test to see if I could get down with dub. Generally, I do not subject my ears to dubstep of any kind, but I made an exception this time out of pure curiosity, and to give the genre another chance because this EP was presented to me as an “ethnic dub album.” I like CloZee and I really like Beats Antique, Bonobo, Ott, and Dynohunter, none of whom are dub, but all of whom definitely know how to throw down some gooey good ethnic sounds. So here I was with Templo, and it did not disappoint!
Though Mountains Can’t Cry certainly falls into the dubstep category, it is subtle, and filters through the ears without leaving you feeling like you just lost brain cells huffing glue, which is how most of the genre has left me feeling before. At the forefront of each of the six songs are naturescape vibes, reggae beats, and the aforementioned “ethnic” sounds.
The first two tracks on the EP have a Middle Eastern flare. “Magnetics,” has a more up-beat, daytime feel and “The Owl Watches,” turns a little darker and is seductive, with calls from night creatures accompanied by mesmerizing sounds resembling far-east wind instruments and maybe even a bit of Balkan folk.
The third track, “Shot in the Dark,” is probably the most traditionally “dubby” track on the EP, with heavy reggae beats and a lot of record scratching. Not long after that, the fourth track reawakens the spirit with a playfulness reminiscent of video games from the early 2000s, and mixes in what sounds like Native American or African tribal chants. “They Gone,” the next to last track on Mountains Can’t Cry, is heavy with reggae vibes. The final track on the album, “RedShotScandal,” incorporates a lot of everything heard in the previous five tracks, but like a fireworks finale, it creates a loud explosion of light and sound only to fade into silence, smoke and gratification at the end.
Mountains Can’t Cry is built like a journey through naturescapes. It’s an easy and enjoyable listen that doesn’t even take thirty minutes to complete, and even as someone who wasn’t a fan before, I am confident you’ll like it whether you’re winding down the summer, or catching Templo live on tour this fall.
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All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.