Chris Schlarb's Psychic Temple is an ever-changing collective with a revolving door lineup including dozens of musicians, and a similarly eclectic range of styles. Through jazz, country, drone, and singer/songwriter folk pop, the group keep things cosmically minded. 2016 brought the Temple's most accessible full-length yet (Psychic Temple III) in addition to covers of Brian Eno's ambient landmark Music for Airports as well as Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" on a 7" single titled Two Songs About Cults. Participants on IV include British folk-rock legend Terry Reid, indie pop songwriter Avi Buffalo, and jazz drummer Chad Taylor (Chicago Underground Duo), among many others, but of course, the Temple is about the collective effort, not the egos of the individual members. The album's songs are generally smooth, mellow, and dreamy, sometimes recalling the adult contemporary indie stylings of the Sea and Cake with a bit more of a down-home flavor, but beyond that, they're all quite different. Opener "Spanish Beach" is a slow drifter with hints of castanets and mariachi-like trumpet. "Wait for Me" is more upbeat, with a thumping, galloping rhythm and shimmering keyboards and backing harmony vocals. "Turn Off the Lights" is another highlight, with a simmering yet still relaxed groove and sitar-sounding notes adding a mystical flair to the adventurous proceedings. "S.O.S.," an expansive piece of downbeat yearning, is reprised from the previous year's cult-themed single. "The Art of Giving Up" leans a bit closer to the Pet Sounds-isms of the High Llamas, but somehow seems a bit more restrained. Instrumental "Isabella Ocean Blue" ends the album, filled with tricky, string-bending jazz-guitar soloing and warm layers of horns and distant-sounding organ notes. Curiously, most of the album's tracks end prematurely, giving way to brief instrumental codas which seem unrelated to the songs they bridge together, adding to the album's dream-like feel.
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AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson