Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Temperance Movement - A Deeper Cut

The Temperance Movement aren’t a band I’ve followed assiduously over the last few years. Never seen them live, scarcely read an interview with them. Don’t ask me why - I’ve had their first two albums all along, enjoyed both of them, but somehow we’ve just kept missing each other.
Well no more. You probably didn’t read it here first, but A Deeper Cut confirms that if there really is a New Wave Of Classic Rock rolling and tumbling, The Temperance Movement riding the crest of it. And I’m going to be paying them more heed from now on.
The foundation of their sound may be very Black Crowes-like southern rock, but the Temps
The Temperance Movement - no ads in the offing for Gillette shaving gel
aren’t mindless acolytes. If anything the biggest similarity they have with the Crowes is their adventurousness. The brisk opener ‘Caught In The Middle’ may do a fine job of capturing the attention, with its bright, stabbing guitar chords and Phil Campbell at his bawling best a la Rod the Mod and Frankie Miller, ‘Backwater Zoo’ may emerge from a relaxed intro into a good time boogie with a cantering rhythm and rattling piano, and ‘Love And Devotion’ may be full on raucous rockin’, but there’s more to A Deeper Cut than telling Beethoven to roll over.

Those rockers are all examples of top quality writing and arrangements, but The Temperance Movement can get both spikier and more ruminative to equally good effect.  Both tendencies can evoke an indie tendency, whether it’s the soft and spectral title track, which swells into chiming guitars with a slightly discordant air that brings to mind Snow Patrol, say – except heaps better, to be honest – or the semi-reggae bleeping and buzzing of ‘Beast Nation’, which gives way to luscious harmonies on the chorus.  In fact bleeping and buzzing guitar tones from Paul Sayer and Matt White often bring a modern edge to the sound, not least on the conclusion to the jagged versed-smooth chorused ‘Built-In Forgetter’.
But the slower stuff shows off even more variety and subtlety.  ‘Another Spiral’ is downbeat and reflective in such a way that the vocal could almost be Phil Collins on something from Wind and Wuthering.   Well no, it couldn’t really, but that maybe conveys a sense of the capacity for sweetness and gentleness that Campbell displays.  But then later they top that with the soul-baring ballad ‘Children’, led by piano and voice with tickling slide in the wings, with Campbell getting into Joe Cocker mode as he sings searingly that “I never thought I’d be so cruel / Breaking your heart for telling me the truth”.  Did I mention that their lyrics are routinely, ear-grabbingly original?
I could go on likening The Temperance Movement to precursors, melding American influences and British sensibilities in a virtuous circle.  But ultimately they’re themselves, being what they are, and making that worth being, as someone once said.  You want to know more about A Deeper Cut? Well, go get it then.  Immerse yourself in its different shades and temperatures.  Drink deeply. Enjoy.

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