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Alfie Templeman – ‘Don’t Go Wasting Time’ EP review: teenage everyman shows there’s life in normcore yet

The 16-year-old wunderkind – with wisdom way beyond his years – has crafted a timeless, carefree record that puts the relatability back into pop

Pour one out for the ‘likeable’ musician. At a time when the thirst for the every-person pop stars has diminished – sorry, Ed Sheeran – there’s never been a better time to be a little weird, whether it’s Lizzo playing the flute or Poppy being a robot. Unfortunately for Bedfordshire musician Alfie Templeman, his latest EP is stacked with guitar solos and lines about taking you to the movies. Fortunately, though, ‘Don’t Go Wasting Time’ also carries almost enough charm and swagger to make down-to-earth cool again.

Given that he’s an artist who’s taken more cues from Frank Ocean and Tame Impala than straightforward indie bands, it’s a small revelation to hear him take on a Cure-sized indie-pop belter such as ‘Who I Am’. The 16-year-old’s lyrics, reminiscing on simpler times, seem impossibly far beyond a songwriter of his relative inexperience (“Funny how a song can take you back so long”). Yet – crucially – they ring true, and this track is the best thing Templeman’s ever done.

Yet it’s not a trick he attempts to replicate over the rest of the EP. ‘Used To Love’ and the title track both return to a slower pace; they’re the kind of song you imagine started life with a park and a badly rolled joint. Nonetheless, each offers a sweetness that’s hard to resist, and neither sound out of place on a record that lives for those moments of blissful abandon.

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But it’s when he reaches towards funk and disco – genres a young lad from suburban Britain arguably has no place meddling in – that his true spirit shines through. There are undeniably elements of this EP that Jack Peñate might claim some credit for – certainly the like of ‘Movies’ and ‘Circles’ – but it’s hard to care when they’re this sublime.

Yes, there’s laidback energy here energy here, but you sense it would be mistake to believe Alfie Templeman is simply chasing a good time. “There’s never been a better time for kids to raise their voices,” Templeman recently told NME. “As a younger generation, we’re trying to make a difference, and it’s just good to see so many forming together to prove a point, to prove that something needs to change.” Relatable? Yes. Irrelevant? Far from it.

Details

  • Release date: November 15
  • Record label: Chess Club Records
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