There’s a lot about Templeton Pek’s newest album that feels – for lack of a better term – obvious. For one, there’s a lot in its pre-release spiel that draws from the rhetoric of a “turbulent climate” that so many are sick of now, something that’s made even more apparent by the fact that this is coming from a punk band. Considering what other punk bands have created from similar material, that doesn’t seem like too much a problem at face value, but it’s something that leaves a sour taste when going into Watching The World Come Undone, as if this is something that’ll automatically have been heard before.
And it has, from a very identifiable source as well. From the broadness of the political statements to the application of arena-rock tones to an already accessible brand of punk, it’s not hard to deduce that much of Templeton Pek’s vision draws from that of Rise Against. The parallels are stark, too; with his hoarse, shoutier vocal timbre, Neal Mitchell is a lot like Tim McIlrath, and the widescreen populism of the political statements on tracks like The Awakening and Sirens strive to maintain the same equilibrium between the anthemic and the provocative. But of all the bands currently trying to emulate Rise Against in any capacity, Templeton Pek come closest to the genuine article, and thus put in the best effort so far. Perhaps it’s a little too familiar to be held as required listening as Rise Against’s best material is, but for a straightforward, urgent punk album, Watching The World Come Undone has ample to offer.
It helps that Templeton Pek are as accessible as they are in this regard, opting for keeping a more generalised approach to their commentary that gives their hooks more aggression without being too intrusive. Even on their own, tracks like Axis and City Of Fire manage to stay away from cutting off their impact prematurely, opting for faster, harsher tones in the former and more abrasion and heft in the latter for the extra kick that’s much appreciated. And that’s pretty much the case with the entire album; there’s not a bad track here, mostly because there’s very little variation on the one general musical theme, but the danger of any sort of toothlessness is neatly avoided. The punchiness and scale are this album’s top selling points, and there’s barely a single track where Templeton Pek do either any less than excellently.
Even if it’s rather no-frills, Watching The World Come Undone remains a consistently strong listen, both in songwriting gusto and instrumental heft. As far as modern punk goes, Templeton Pek have plenty going for them that continues to shine here, and even if the roots continue to show themselves rather prominently, the gusto shown here goes a long way in making a pretty damn good album. It’s definitely worth a listen for any punk fan, even if it’s largely just to reaffirm how effective this genre can be.
For fans of: Rise Against, Green Day, Anti-Flag
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Watching The World Come Undone’ by Templeton Pek is released on 23rd February on Drakkar Records.