Earache [Release date 16.02.18]
Where to begin when all the superlatives have been exhausted? Widely and justifiably-touted as Britain’s Best New Band since……that “Classic Rock Best New Band 2013″ award still sits on their shoulders like your trusty old college scarf. “A Deeper Cut” – the third offering from The Temperance Movement sees the band progressing relentlessly and very satisfyingly on the trajectory set by the s/t and White Bear albums – mature, exciting, progressive and astonishingly good.
I never saw The Black Crowes circa “Shake Your Money Maker” but I imagine this is what they must have been like – raw, vibrant and hungry. The Temperance Movement really has it all – kaftans, afghans and Laura Ashley jackets, wide-brimmed floppy hats and an attitude that lifts you up by the armpit hairs and demands that you groove and dig it. Combine all that with shit-kicking songs and a stage presence suggesting they’ve been doing this nightly since the ’60s and you have the cream of British Rock music in 2018.
Many of these new songs were previewed to those of us fortunate enough to snag tickets for the recent “Small Rooms and New Tunes” tour and they had immediate appeal – never an easy thing to achieve live on the first hearing. Since they closed the set last November debuting “Backwater Zoo” from this new record, I’ve been absolutely gagging for the album…and it has not disappointed.
Equal parts swagger and sweetness but 100% Temperance Movement, the band has produced a body of work which draws on all that was excellent about the first two offerings but they have taken their songwriting craft to the next level with “A Deeper Cut” – the title track of which is itself a masterpiece.
And that’s what makes this band great (already!); their ability to write phenomenal tunes – weaving heart-rending melodies (“There’s Still Time”, “The Wonders We’ve Seen” and “Another Spiral”) and pelvis-shifting, balls-out rockers (“Built In Forgetter”, “Caught In The Middle” and “Love and Devotion”). And then there’s the magic sauce which is that, three albums in, The Temperance Movement have now stamped their own unique signature on contemporary rock – that point where you say “hang on, that’s sounds like the Temperance Movement”…..yep, that distinctive.
Vocalist and front man, Phil Campbell, oozes “cool” – if Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker had a son and employed Chris Robinson and Mick Jagger as nannies, that baby would have grown up to be Phil Campbell. He really is a remarkable (and a little spooky) amalgamation of all those icons and yet he’s very individual – commanding an exquisite, compelling connection with his audience and, of course, a rock-and-roll middle finger to the fashion police with the goofy outfits.A proper rock singer’s set of pipes too !
The back line of bassist Nick Fyffe (ex-Jamiroquai) and tub-thumper Simon Lea provide the taught canvas backdrop upon which the band creates their sonic landscapes. Guitarists Paul Sayer and Matt White just look too damn young to be able to understand and convey, let alone trade, those kinds of licks that well but they interact beautifully. Like a darn good roll in the sheets – the band as a whole is, at various times throughout this album tender, caressing, boisterous, thrusting and…..well…..very, very sexy.
In a world of abundance of everything, The Temperance Movement shine like a beacon and stand head and shoulders above the crowd for their sheer creative genius and their intense, high energy live performances. Lots to love and admire on this their strongest album to-date.
Cocksure, confident, contemporary British rock music at its very best. *****
Review by Mark ‘Mad Dog’ Shaw
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