Suffering souls in purgatory would surely be elated if Temps’ Party Gator popped in to say hello. The crying damned who find themselves in inarticulate limbo, dancing away to an album with more featured artists than a Gorillaz LP. Music is a communal experience at the best of times. Temps take this to heart and boast dozens, if not billions, of collaborating artists, percussionists and comedians. Stand-ups are no stranger to the shape of music, as Tim Heidecker frequently proves with his excellent dedication to his very gifted, Randy Newman-like vocal range. James Acaster does it here, too, severing that comedy connection for a straight-shooting, well-formed album which captures the mood of major collaboration but also the wild-eyed charm Acaster provides elsewhere.
Groaning awake on lookaliveandplaydead, a mood-setting power lingers on, tense percussions and the Day of the Dead provoke and stand tall. Disarming the Temps debut cover may be, it is far from the light and bright highlighters which make up the Party Gator caricature. Quelle Chris is an incredible and constant feature throughout Party Gator Purgatory, bringing the compositions of Acaster to their unpredictable and comfortably volatile highs. Confidence is key, and as kept batters through, pouncing with conviction onto the explosive, NNAMDÏ-led track, Temps become what their singles failed to capture. Experimental art pop convinces of Temps’ place and the sudden changes in pitch and pace match the excitement, the intrigue, of this group.
Singles no,no and bleedthemtoxins feel better placed as part of a ten-track movement rather than isolated moments. Party Gator Purgatory is an album which cannot truly be separated into bitesize chunks. Take the fifty-minute-long haul or nothing at all, embrace the well-mixed and often overlapping controlled chaos within. Moving away further and further from its experimental hip-hop and into a state of experimental jazz paired with spoken-word rhythm, at (moves) and title track partygatorpurgatory present the highs of what Temps can do. Rhythmic, militaristic percussion steers differing voices toward this new and staggered art-pop horizon. It is different to just about everything. Acaster mixes with the keen eye expected of fine studio overseers, Party Gator Purgatory benefiting from the steady hand behind the scenes, making interjections the new distraction, the break from a potentially repetitive segment. It flows with gorgeous and assured intent.
Stare into those vacant gator eyes and see yourself reflected. Party Gator Purgatory is an album to lose yourself in, as quickly as you can. Party with the gator. What is their secret? Is it the massive collaborative efforts of so many voices, pooling together and pointing themselves toward bigger and better ideas? Unity in creativity and expressing it with confidence, Temps are a unit of real and assured interest. Penultimate track partygatorresurrection brings it back, as those additional vocals wish for. Some acts are too big to die. Some, like Party Gator, are too wild, too upbeat in their insistence on bringing parties to the streets of the world, to die. Temps create a character for their work together but enjoy an independence from the expectations of a life-sized green gator with incredible, consistent and moving collections of truly unique artistry.