The Temperance Movement – White Bear
Although for the most part it slipped under the radar, The Temperance Movement’s eponymous debut was one of the best albums of 2013. There was not even the slightest drop in quality for the entirety of it’s 50 minutes. Full of raucous rock riffs, foot stomping blues and beautiful ballads, each and every song could easily have been a lead single. Sadly with such a strong debut it was all but inevitable that the follow up could never live up to it. Although on the surface it seems like more of the same, when you really listen to it everything seems toned down. It’s like the debut was Coca Cola and White Bear is Diet Coke, no matter how much you tell yourself that they’re basically the same product it’s just not as good.
It’s the heavier tracks where the difference is most noticeable. On White Bear the rock is a bit more polished which I find just a bit more bland than the ‘rough around the edges’ approach. Even though this album is ten minutes shorter it sure seems to drag out a lot more. There are still some high points though that show off the band at their best; the title track flips between ballad and blues and has mastered them both equally. The perpetual riff and driving beat of ‘Oh Lorraine’ and dreamy melancholy of ‘I Hope I’m Not Losing My Mind’ also stand out as top tracks. There’s nothing really wrong with the album as a whole other than it being a step down. But despite having possibly the least Rock N’ Roll name in history, they are a talented bunch who I’m sure will bounce back.