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People who grew up with bands like The Black Crowes, Stone Roses, or Led Zeppelin have probably uttered the line, “They don’t make rock bands like they use to.” That’s because they haven’t heard of The Temperance Movement, the southern-rock band from… not Atlanta nor Alabama or even Michigan but from London, England. To be fair, I had not heard of them until they visited Canada’s capital city, when they put on a blistering, hard-charging, one-hour set at the 2015 RBC Ottawa Bluesfest. Hours and days after their set, I heard dozens of people saying how The Temperance Movement were either their favorite set, their biggest surprise, and/or the one of their discoveries during the 10-day festival.
At the time of their Bluesfest performance, they only had released one EP but were in the process of finishing their second full-length album, which has finally arrived. White Bear is ten songs of vintage rock ‘n roll that will have enthusiasts of the ’70s, ’80s, and even early ’90s rock scene take note. The album is littered with hip-shaking, fist-pumping rockers, such as “3 Bulleits”, the high-energy “Modern Massacre”, and the blistering “Magnify”. The awesome “Battle Lines” and the title track are the best of the bunch with their slow-burning approach and spirited guitar riffs.
For those who prefer more of midtempo, groovy tracks in the mold of The Black Crowes’ best tunes modern-day southern rockers Futurebirds, “Get Yourself Free“ and “A Pleasant Peace I Feel” will appease you. “Oh Lorraine” is a bit different from the rest of the album, as it’s a heavier, modern-day alt-rocker that echoes of Spanish Gold (the side project that includes Dante Schwebel of City Colour, Adrian Quesada, formerly of Grupo Fantasma, and My Morning Jacket’s Patrick Hallahan). On “Roll Around”, The Temperance Movement head towards the ’90s, specifically The Stone Temple Pilots. Even frontman Phil Campbell sounds like the late Scott Weiland on this grungy number.
To say that The Temperance Movement only know how to create rockers with infectious hooks and rousing guitar solos would be a mistake. This group also knows how to put together a great melody combined with terrific songwriting. The title track showcases both of the band’s abilities. This track about growing up and making sacrifices moves fluidly from a slow melodic approach to a heavy alt-rock arrangement and back again.
And taking us back to a time when rock ‘n roll was king is where The Temperance Movement have sent us on White Bear. This is an album made to be heard live, where the five-piece can extend the guitar solos, Phil Campbell can prance around stage belting out every note like it’s his last, and where you won’t be alone in thrashing your head and hollering along during the chorus. White Bear is an awesome rocker of an album by a band that is ready to take its place among the best rock ‘n roll bands of 2016.
White Bear is out now via Earache Records. The Temperance Movement are Phil Campbell, Paul Sayer, Nick Fyffe, Damon Wilson, and Matt White.
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