Luke Temple has released five albums’ worth of prickly experimentation since 2005′s folk-leaning Hold a Match for a Gasoline World, from the twitchy, impressionistic rock he makes with indie outfit Here We Go Magic to his own angular bedroom pop. His latest album, recorded in upstate New York with a stripped-down configuration of warm, punchy bass and retro synthesizers, reveals an underlying affinity for clean, soft rock contours and the processed percussion of mid-’80s world-beat.
Unexpectedly, Temple populates this setting with disenchanted, sometimes vaguely lewd confessions à la Steely Dan’s “Hey Nineteen”: the ear-wormy “Katie” buries lascivious hints in sugary layers of drum machine and spiderweb falsetto, while “Jessica Brown Findlay” takes an uncomfortably close look at the titular actress during an in-flight movie. Meanwhile, softly churning “Sue” (“sorry, it’s true”) examines a spoiled relationship, and doomy jam “Those Kids” takes aim at MTV to evangelize about the fear of aging. Still, Temple’s sly hints at controlled hedonism (he recently filmed a video in Belize) sit so comfortably in yacht rock trappings that high points like the dulcet “Florida,” which offers some sage advice to a friend, acquire a lovely, lingering resonance.