2018 is shaping up to be a crucial year for the next generation of rock stars in-waiting. Who will fill the void left by bands like Black Sabbath etc is a tiresome question, and to be honest, pointless. Why waste energy on wether or not there are bands out there capable of pulling in crowds of 50,000+, when there is an abundance of middle tier bands readying to release new albums. Halestorm, Shinedown, and Rival Sons will all have new product out this year. Myles Kennedy has a solo album as well. The future is bright, my friends. We’ve just got to take off the nostalgia glasses now and then. The UK plays a major role in the New Wave Of Classic Rock, with handfuls of bands bubbling under, but The Temperance Movement are the ones. The ones to pin a flag on, the ones not just able to make the leap to mid-size venues with ease, but capable of taking it to the next level after that. Sir Mick obviously thinks so, picking the band to open for the Stones. ‘A Deeper Cut’ is the sound of a band ready to step up and answer the call. It’s the sound of a band coming out of a turbulent period (which saw two original band members walking away) much stronger and more together. And hot-dog, it’s the sound of a band on top of their game. This is the one.
‘A Deeper Cut’ is not so much “back to basics”, it’s just more like the eponymous debut than it is the sophomore album ‘White Bear’. Two acclaimed albums that dented the album charts upon release. Album number three takes the best of both worlds and mixes them up with some welcome fizz. As soon as the guitars signify the album starting with ‘Caught In The Middle’, the listener is wrapped up in the warm, fuzzy glow that only a sense of familiarity can bring. It’s only been two years since ‘White Bear’, but it feels way longer. The album struts like a peacock in all it’s flash-bastard glory. ‘Built-In Forgetter’ is what you could describe as “classic” The Temperance Movement. A simplistic, steady drum-beat coupled with a staccato guitar sound, and even though you know that Phil Campbell is about to come in with a chorus strong enough to reach the skies, it is still a total thrill when he does. The “Oh Sister Mercy you take me higher” chorus results in one thing – instant earworm. Expect pints of warm overpriced piss water to be raised skywards when this is played live. The guitar outro is a thing of beauty. Leading straight into the Clapton-esque intro of ‘Love And Devotion’, this is a fantastic showcase for guitarists Paul Sayer and Matt White. With a charismatic frontman like Campbell, it’s easy to miss the guys bringing the magic. I’m not sure who plays which solo on ‘Love And Devotion’, but sweet baby Jesus, they are intense. Clapton has been mentioned already, but the touch of slide at 2.30 minutes evokes so many great memories of Joe Walsh. Chops, chops, and even more chops. If you caught The Temperance Movement on their recent “club” tour, some tracks will be familiar to you, especially the romp that is ‘Backwater Zoo’, where Campbell out-Eltons Elton John. It has a bounce that is irresistible.
The other side to The Temperance Movement brings the softer, heartfelt moments, such as the sublime ‘Chinese Lanterns’ and ‘Smouldering’ on the debut, so it’s no surprise that ‘A Deeper Cut’ has its share of spiritual moments. The title track and ‘Children’ both stop you in your tracks, ‘Children’ is a raw, emotional, apologetic tour de force from Campbell at the piano… ”I never thought I’d be so dumb, blaming everybody for the things I’ve done”. Campbell has been honest about lapsing back into bad habits with his use of weed, and here he lays his apology out there for everyone to see. A powerful few minutes indeed. ‘There’s Still Time’ is another stand out moment. Its sombre, but strangely hopeful tone is perfect for commercial radio, if they could ever be bothered to think outside the box. Both previous albums have ended on towering moments that build into epics, album number three is no exception. Closing track ‘The Wonders We’ve Seen’ is stunning. This one will take every ounce of emotion out of Campbell when he performs it live. I can see this one closing the show perhaps?