It’s no secret that Alfie Templeman has always had a sneakily experimental side. Each EP that the 18-year-old has released since his 2018’s psych-y ‘Like An Animal’, has embraced his pop curiosity without landing in any one place. 2019’s ‘Sunday Morning Cereal’ and ‘Don’t Go Wasting Time’ were both filled to the brim with distorted acoustic ditties, and on 2020’s ‘Happiness In Liquid Form’, he pivoted to fluorescent, super-sized indie-pop.
On ‘Forever Isn’t Long Enough’, a self-described ‘mini-album’, Templeman retains the playfulness, colour, and energy of his previous work while deepening a commitment to constantly evolving his sound. After all, the Bedfordshire-born artist has been independently making music in his bedroom since he was 12, and you could guess as much from his almost intuitive approach; this ambitious eight-track project levels up his production skills wonderfully.
There are some genuinely inspiring moments: ‘Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody’ is buoyant and universal, with a taut synth and drum beat foundation that translates to a charming update on the Tears For Fears classic, ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’. Thumping standout ‘Wait, I Lied’ – among Templeman’s catchiest songs – then nods to the looseness of funk. Starting off with a pinched vocal effect and blossoming into a squelching, cowbell-assisted groove; later on, his familiar tone frequently leaps to a springy falsetto.
With its mish-mash of wide-eyed, glimmering riffs and pristine brass samples, coming-of-age moment ‘Film Scene Daydream’ is quite nakedly inspired by one of The 1975’s early staples, ‘Heart Out’. But this instrumentation creates a lovesick feeling, as Templeman details one of the many learnings of youth, having to accept that a crush is better off without him: “I was so naive until I turned 15/Lived in mystery, my world was one big dream”, he sighs as if he is recalling the plot of a John Hughes movie gone wonky.
The lyrics throughout this collection aren’t overly intricate, but they offer enough clarity to let the hooks stick firm in the mind. Both the title track and ‘Hideaway’ strive for an immediate serotonin hit – the former twirls around disco-infused textures; the latter uses scratchy CHIC riffs and a wobbly bassline to bolster its joyous message of escapism.
On this mini-album, Templeman’s far-flung influences are brought together more fluently than before. And more importantly, he appears in the throws of continual creative reinventions; he has every reason to be feeling pretty confident with himself.
2.Forever Isn’t Long Enough
4.Wait, I Lied
5.Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody
6.Film Scene Daydream
8.One More Day (feat. April)
OVERALL RATING: 4 stars