It would be easy for a band who achieved such dizzying success with their first album to rest on their laurels and copy the same formula when it came to making their ‘difficult’ second album. However, The Temperance Movement don’t disappoint and White Bear demonstrates a band undergoing evolution rather than revolution, to great avail.
Stomping drum beats and gravelly tones hit you on first track Three Bulleits and you’ll soon be singing along with equal anger and frustration employed by lead Phil Campbell. The glam strut feel soon transcends into a swirly dreamlike state on A Pleasant Place I Feel before it is cut short to bring back the anthemic feel that the whole album is littered with.
The highlights of the album are easily tracks four and five. Modern Massacre uses sharp punchy lyrics packed into two minutes to ensure the song stays in your head for hours to come whilst Battle Lines perfectly encapsulates the no man’s land between blues and rock’n’roll that the band occupy. Not even I Hope I’m Not Losing My Mind can bring them down; it’s juddering guitar and soppy lyrics don’t match with the rest of the album and it struggles to find direction in an album that is otherwise so clear. Thankfully, it’s followed by a track that harks back to their winning formula, leaving the album to end on a high.
Although White Bear shows a band progressing sonically, it is hard to overlook the fact that some riffs sound strangely familiar and they are seemingly recycled on the album. Nevertheless, White Bear marks even greater things for a band that have already supported the Rolling Stones in stadiums. Hell, it marks them as the headliners of stadiums and, I personally, cannot wait.
For fans of: Dirty Sweet, Walking Papers, Philip Sayce
Words by Clara Duffy
‘White Bear’ by The Temperance Movement is out now on Earache Records.