If it’s a new summer banger you’re after, then Alfie Templeman is your man… or, er, boy. The 17-year-old Bedfordshire singer/songwriter has already demonstrated that he knows his way around a groove: his burgeoning catalogue of playful, woozy jangles (on 2018’s ‘Like An Animal’) and the open-hearted pop roughness of his 2019 EP ‘Don’t Go Wasting Time’ are proof. A similar spirit drives his latest six-track collection, the eclectic, poptastic ‘Happiness In Liquid Form’ EP.
Everything here sounds bigger, bolder and brighter — a welcome expansion on the kinetic indie rhythms that Templeman has merely flirted with in the past. A bolt of infectious escapism, powered by shuffling beats and squelchy synths, signals Templeman’s new ambitions on the title track: loud and neon, it’s also equipped with a shout-along chorus fit for a would-be festival crowd. Its catchiness is matched by the sublime, G-funk ripples of ‘Things I Thought Were Mine’ which follows.
‘Obvious Guy’, a little disco shimmy, cites the charismatic ways of fellow bedroom-pop starlet Omar Apollo via honeyed tones, glistening production and an easygoing charm. The dreamy track works as a clever distraction from its preceder, the borderline saccharine ‘Maybe This Is The Time’, which meanders along with its insipid refrain: “Only you know how much I love you / Only you know how much I care.” It tugs on the heart strings, sure, but its break-up song sentiments are a tad lukewarm (“Love ain’t too good for my health”) — a rare misstep by Templeman.
The EP continues to pleasantly surprise, however. The juddering ‘My Best Friend’, a moody collab with his label mates Coach Party, translates as the next-best-thing to Billie Eilish’s ‘bad guy’. Its feathery vocals and thumping, reverb-driven chorus (“My best friend is a killer in disguise / She’ll show you things you’ve never seen”) feel far removed from the retro-kitsch hooks that dominate elsewhere.
Ultimately, there is something encouraging about Templeman’s growing comfort in taking risks, and his confident approach to genre-hopping is something to be revered. ‘Happiness In Liquid Form’ proves that while he is still growing rapidly as an artist, this is truly indie pop’s boy wonder at his striking best.
- Release date: July 17
- Record label: Chess Club