Born in 2011, The Temperance Movement have been selling out shows in the UK and Europe, and if rock 'n' roll is to be saved, or even needs saving, bands like this will lead the way. Signed by Earache Records just weeks ago, the band will hopefully have their first full length long player by the fall, but in the meantime their first EP, Pride is an ass kicking, mind-boggling slice of pure, unadulterated, and beautiful rock 'n' roll.
The band comes across as if they were spoon fed classic guitar rock since the day they were born, and the beauty is that they are 100% real - nothing slick, nothing corporate about them. I suppose the phrase I'll use is one I use a lot, organic. Yup, this is rock as pure as the driven snow, and sure - they wear their roots on their sleeves, but they wear them damned well. They have a genuineness that harkens back to The Stones, Free, then later The Black Crowes, and now into the glorious teens.
Glorious teens? Yeah, I'm liking the way 2013 has rolled out for rock, and I envision the remainder of the decade serving as a revival for the genre.
Phil Campbell is The Temperance Movement's frontman and he has the full package - great voice, looks like he belongs in front of a mic, and he writes straight from his heart. His passion and enthusiasm comes across like a young Joe Cocker, half in control, and halfway to the moon.
Ain't No Telling is a steady grower that starts in second gear, and once Campbell starts telling his tale the song goes into a trajectory that has the effect of a rock 'n' roll super-sermon. The guitars don't show off, they restrain themselves well until the solo comes and they goose it just as it should be goosed. The rhythm section shines, and they get it right - they aren't in a race, they strut with great authority. I'm not terribly shocked to read that Campbell comes from a family of preachers, and hymn writers - the apple falls not far from the tree. Drummer Damon Wilson proves my theory that only with a stellar stickman can a band attain greatness, and he puts TTM on the inside path.
The ghost of the Flaming Groovies raises it's head on the intro to Only Friend, and this is as cautionary a tale as was Slow Death in its time. Campbell retains his stance as a man in front of a pulpit, indeed, the man is a soul preacher - of that there is little doubt. The Movement seem to understand things like dynamics, and pacing - traits too rare in the age of over compressed madness. I love that the band's guitarists, Paul Sayer and Luke Potashnick, listen to one another - this is obvious by the fact that they never mindlessly bash out the same chords, and in delighting us with their skills, neither do they collide. These fellows bring to mind Keith and Mick Taylor as they pass their fills and leads back and forth across these tracks with ease and grace.
Pride sounds more like Campbell's earlier solo work, verging on country rock mixed with some melodic, minimalist indie. This is one song that would have been well served by a larger budget, and a bit more grandiose production, but still it retains great charm, the guitars bring back memories of Pure Prairie League, and a simpler, prettier guitar landscape of days gone by.
Straight ahead rock raises it's head again on Be Lucky, and Nick Fyffe's percolating bass line propels this down the way, as Campbell continues to keep things very personal and real - these tunes all sound as if he wrote them as he lived them, and I'm sure he has done just that.
Lovers & Fighters closes out the set, and it's a meditation of hope - a theme that resounds across these tracks both in word and feel. "I was only waiting there for you, to see if we could identify the truth." Campbell sings, and he follows that with, "Shine on, Brother and Sisters, shine on," and you know we will. There's hope written all across this all too brief piece of rock, and the biggest hope for the moment is that for The Temperance Movement, this is only the beginning.
I hear The Stones, Free, The Black Crowes, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and many others in this band's DNA, but mostly I hear a genuine love and reverence for the form of rock 'n' roll. As long as there are bands like The Temperance Movement, rock 'n' roll will never die.