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Templars | Reconquista 1994 1998 | review | punk | Lollipop

Templars

Reconquista 1994-1998 (GMM)
by Ewan Wadharmi

I love press writers. They think they're going to grab your attention by proclaiming "Before there was Dropkick Murphys, there was Templars." Well, my fine fellow, you just placed the bandwagon squarely before the horse. Can you compare Britney and Christina to Annette Funicello merely because they all donned the mouse ears? OK, bad example, although I'll take Annette any day. It's comparing apples and... well, spuds.

I can't listen to Templars without thinking about Charlie Harper from UK Subs. Not that they sound so much alike. But when Charlie howls some obscene verse and grins sweetly like the little elf that he is, it just melts your heart. I get the same warm fuzzy feeling with Templars. Never big on production, they play with more heart than anyone else in the game. According to Charlie Harper, white supremacist-turned-game-show-host Gary Bushell is essentially the godfather of Oi! punk. Templars have been an anomaly in the Oi! scene from day one, but not just for the obvious reason that they broke the color barrier (Angry Samoans don't really count, seeing as they didn't really hail from Hawaii). What truly sets them apart is the reliance on '60s garage and a staunch refusal to abandon melody. While Carl Templar growls with one of the most gasoline-soaked throats in the biz, there's an unusual gentleness in their sound. They employ an irresistible lo-fi innocence to bring a grin to your lips even when the buzzing guitars are completely mix-matched. The anthems required in Oi! tradition are honored and elevated by thoughtful melody choices. This chronicle of out-of-print singles and rarities demonstrates Templars' use of flavor in a generally bland (vanilla) genre. Instead of your standard career-spanning rerun package, this makes for a nice appetizer for the uninitiated and a sweet dessert for the loyal fan.
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