White Bear is The Temperance Movement’s seond full studio album after the excellent self-titled 2013 debut. For a band that are named after a movement promoting abstinence from alcohol, The Temperance Movement have certainly found creative juices from somewhere. Who says you need a drink to have a good time?
On initial listens the highlights begin with ‘Modern Massacre’. My advice here would be to make sure you’re in a place where you can either dance or sit down because if you’re attempting to get somewhere you’ll find yourself running just to keep up with the solid tempo. Glasgow born Phil Campbell’s voice struts through this song with shades of AC/DC’s Brian Johnston supported by an excellent band playing a dirty blues style which sounds modern yet feels old.
By contrast title track ‘White Bear’ demonstrates diversity by providing us with a real anthem. The versus are timid and mellow then the dynamics of the chorus including oohs, ahhs and slide guitars produce something that will have audiences passionately singing along. Then we have ‘Oh Lorraine’ which strangely the chorus reminds me of something from The Stone Roses. That may or may not be a highlight for some, but it’s how it sounds to me.
It takes till track 10, ‘I Hope I’m Not Losing My Mind’ before the band perform a slow number. I love this track and I love this style of music and they absolutely nail it. It’s a beautiful song and one I had to listen to a couple of times before moving on with the album. It’s dark and brooding and interestingly the first time we get any sort of extended guitar solo for such a heavily guitar-based band but that also suits the vibe of the song down to a tee.
White Bear certainly has a large record sleeve to fill coming after debut The Temperance Movement and sounds far more stripped back and raw compared to that – which is no bad thing. I get the feeling this is the direction the band are heading will continue to sound. They clearly know what they’re doing and despite their band name, I’ll be having a drink tonight and enjoying this album one more time.