Album Reviews

The Temperance Movement – A Deeper Cut review

Genre: Rock

Label: Earache Records

Release Date: 16 February 2018

The Band:

Phil Campbell – Vocals,
Paul Sayer – Guitar,
Matt White – Guitar,
Nick Fyffe – Bass,
Simon Lea – Drums,

Track listing:

Caught in the Middle

Built-in Forgetter

Love and Devotion

A Deeper Cut

Backwater Zoo

Another Spiral

Beast Nation

The Way It Was And The Way It Is

Higher Than The Sun

Children

There’s Still Tim

The Wonders We’ve Seen

Just under two years on from their last album, The Temperance Movement are back with their third album, A Deeper Cut. After the success of the first two albums, fans and critics have no doubt been anxious about the next album living up to their expectations and I for one can surely say that neither should be disappointed.

Personally, there was little to choose from between the self-title and White Bear, however A Deeper Cut is a step in a slightly different direction, though let me just clarify that the edginess of their sound is far from gone on this album. Overall I’d say the album has a mellower feel to it than its predecessors and while that may not be everyone’s cuppa’, the rock’n’roll foundation to their sound remains intact. If I had to comprehensively sum up the sound on this album I’d say it has a southern rock feel to it with a guillotine sized rock’n’roll edge to its tonality and composition.

What many may be unaware of is the tumultuous journey the band has been through over the last couple of years ranging from the highs of their 2015 tour of the US to the reality of dealing with the upheaval resulting from the departure of two of its founding members. As a result, there is a discernibly more emotional side to the album which comes through in a number of tracks such as Children and the title track and while these may be reflections of the band’s state of being or individual members battling their own demons, the musical brilliance is far from lacking.

Having said that, the album also boasts a number of high energy, raw sounding rock tunes by way of tracks such as Caught in the Middle or Love and Devotion. Rife with cheeky guitar riffs and a high voltage sound, these tracks remind me of the compositional energy and thought that went into their first EP, Only Friend, which is heartening to hear three albums into their career. Moreover, the guitar tones throughout the album, ranging from overdriven fuzz of Built-in Forgetter to the sliding solos on Love and Devotion and everything in between are yet another nod to the rock’n’roll freedom that typified the music of the late 60s / early 70s.

In addition, the versatility of Phil’s vocals is once again apparent throughout the album. Songs like The Wonders We’ve Seen or Another Spiral both showcase the purity of Phil’s delivery and compositional sense at their outset, growing in stature as the tracks progress only to finish on a high with Phil screaming his lungs out, backed by an anthem style chorus of vocal harmonies and uplifting melodies.

Another distinguishing feature of this album, relative to its predecessors, is the harmonised vocals overlaid with Phil’s lead vocals of which we got a preview on songs like Serenity or Smouldering on their first album. More of their tracks on A Deeper Cut feature this dynamic and to be honest, the interplay between the melodic harmonies and the raspy tone of Phil’s voice (in those section) just works similar to adding honey to a scotch bonnet pepper to ever so slightly temper the edge.

Perhaps one of the more stand or tracks on the album is Beast Nation. With its plucked slow vibrato guitar melodies and warm tones, wholesome chorus, stretched fuzzy guitar solo and overall tonality, this track is, for me, a musical masterpiece. If there were only one song on the album one had to walk away with, I’d say this would be the one although I doubt listeners will be able to make that choice easily as there are so many great tracks to choose from.

A Deeper Cut is certainly an apt name in that not only does it feel like more of the band’s emotions shine through in its composition but also harks back to their compositional roots as both Phil and Paul mentioned in a recent interview. Maintaining musical integrity in today’s market is a challenge for any musician and this feat is even harder with genres like rock’n’roll. It is thus only fair to compliment the courage and boldness of The Temperance Movement in sticking to their musical identity in an environment where other bands may have faltered in such a resolve.

My parting words on the album…if you don’t end up buying a copy then shame on you, however, if you have the foresight to make the purchase, you’re going to be all the happier as it is one of those records you can just listen to on repeat for days and not get bored of what it throws at you.

Happy listening fellow Temperance fans, you’re going to love this one just as you did the ones before it!

SCORE: 9/10

REVIEW BY: KARAN DUTTA 

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