The Temperance Movement - White Bear
Ah, the second album. The thing of myth and of legend. There are many ways to approach it but most obvious are: MORE OF THE SAME; something totally different; or just maybe a smooth transition to something more complex. Well The Temperance Movement most decidedly follow the third route. After the homage to a certain type of gravelly rock that was their debut self-titled album in 2013, the five piece return with White Bear which continues that path but with the rougher edges smooth off. Coming off the back of an almost constant two and a half years on the road that’s surprising; that it sounds like a studio album, they’re not just capturing their live vibe.
Though the band continue to pinch, pilfer, and procure from rock’s back catalogue there’s something most definitely them about White Bear. Whether it’s frontman Phil Campbell’s controlled rasp, the pumping basslines of Nick Fyffe, or the now singular guitar of Paul Sayer (founder member and co-lead guitarist Luke Potashnick left in 2015), or ending with a slow song, the thoughtful ‘I Hope I’m Not Losing My Mind’, there’s a continuity throughout. From the opening bass groove of 'A Pleasant Place I Feel' through the riff laden title track, and guitar riff and vocal melody call and response opening to album highlight 'Battle Lines', the pleasingly familiar groove of 'Get Yourself Free'; and that's where the albums strength lies, not in White Bear’s originality but its lack of.