Many songwriters have found inspiration in America's great cities, but considering its sheer oddness, few have specifically focused on San Francisco. As a Bay Area native, former Green On Red co-frontman Chuck Prophet finally takes a hard look at his hometown on this latest instalment in an interesting string of pseudo-concept albums he's made since finding his feet as a solo artist with 2002's No Other Love. Prophet's strength remains using his solid technical proficiency as a guitarist to explore different textures, some gloriously ragged and others possessing a tarnished grandeur. Temple Beautiful runs that gamut, and while not all of it works, the overarching visions of San Francisco contained in songs like "Castro Halloween" and "Willie Mays is Up at Bat" keep a sufficient level of engagement to see the record through to a satisfying conclusion. And while Prophet has never been a great singer, with age he's learned to overcome this disadvantage by taking some lessons in conviction from Joe Strummer and Alejandro Escovedo. Temple Beautiful is the sound of a mature rock'n'roller continuing to reach for new heights.
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