July 25, 2016 The Temperance Movement – White Bear (Album Review)
UK based Blues Rock band known as The Temperance Movement has risen like a high-flyer in the new generation of Stadium Rock. Only five years into their history, including the release of the debut EP Pride in 2012, followed by their 2013 self-titled debut album via Earache Records, The Temperance Movement continue to build momentum. Although, the story of these four musicians began much earlier than their formation, as Vocalist Phil Campbell, ex-Jamiroquai bassist Nick Fyffe, Guitarist Paul Sayer, and the Australian drummer Damon Wilson played in several bands to support prominent acts such as Deep Purple, Ray Davies, The Waterboys, and even James Brown.
Although, the biggest coup to date for the relatively new act for sure would be the invitation to support The Rolling Stones in Berlin, Zurich, Vienna, and Dusseldorf back in 2014, as well as opening up for them in Orlando, Florida in 2015. An impressive feat to brag about, with this kind of tailwind, The Temperance Movement return with high hopes in 2016 with the release of their sophomore album, White Bear. Already releasing their new Rock-n-Roll animal across Europe in February 2016, the US-version now was released on July 15th via Fantastic/Concord Music Group with two additional bonus tracks.
With twelve tracks in total, the album begins as expected with the very cool bunch of rocking slide guitars on “Three Bulleits.” Inspired by a Kentucky Bourbon, the drink seems to dye Campbell’s voice to the color it needs, accompanied by dirty, distorted, willful, and modern basses. The crusade of colored Rock-n-Roll continues with “Get Yourself Free,” and again, the omnipresent crunchy, as well as slide guitars, impress a big stamp to The Temperance Movement’s Southern Rock sound. The anthem-like chorus guarantees swaying or just feeling free, like driving along an endless road into dawn.
Moving along, diversity comes with “A Pleasant Peace I Feel,” which appears a little bit psychedelic before “Modern Massacre,” which turns out as the most churlish track on White Bear. Beside its hymn character, the latter is stitched with attitude and creaking in just a little more than two minutes playing time that is oh so irresistible. Then there is “Battle Lines,” which features riffing reminiscent of old AC/DC that soon turns in a chorus to make the track a groovy Blues Rock monster. Making explicit use of sliding guitars once more, almost like a strange second, high, female-like voice, it is a cut full of soul.
Putting on another face, The Temperance Movement also showcases more calm tunes in the verses of the title track, which features a typical Classic Rock chorus. Here and there, one has the short deja-vu feeling to have heard the melody once before, but the band’s motivation for sure is not to reinvent the wheel, but garnish the sound of former days with a big portion of coolness and a real modern production of Sam Miller. That in mind, the felicitous mixture is “Oh Lorraine” where The Temperance Movement combines classic Blues and Funk as Campbell describes the tryst with a same named girl and being beaten by her girlfriend. That must be Rock -n- Roll!!! Keeping it coming, “Magnify” and “The Sun And Moon Roll Around Too Soon” make light, well-known Blues patterns, which lend White Bear a comfortable homogeneity.
In contrast, “I hope I’m Not Losing My Mind” appears as the headstrong ballad on White Bear where the instrumentation acquits oneself as the song is revived by Campbell’s smooth vocals to a strange, but not less anthem-like chorus. This is before the two US edition bonus track begin with “Do The Revelation” and the easy, on Tom Petty-leaning “Time Won’t Leave,” which wraps up a consistently powerful Blues Rock album.
With White Bear, The Temperance Movement are ready to climb the ladder on the mainstream charts and into the heart of Rock fans everywhere. Beside mass-appeal, without being cheesy or hail-fellow-well-met, the four-piece flavors the well-known Blues Rock formula with a seasonable sound, coolness, and a big portion of grit. Above all, it is Rock-n-Roll that will make listeners feel something and not come across as contrived or insincere, just the way it was always meant to be. CrypticRock gives White Bear 4 out of 5 stars.