The Temperance Movement is a British blues rock band composed of vocalist Phil Campbell, guitarist Paul Sayer, bassist Nick Fyffe, and Australian drummer Damon Wilson. A few days ago, I had a brief interview with Campbell. In those few minutes, I understood live performances to be a significant part of the band’s existence. This focus on live performances comes through in their most recent album White Bear.
According to Campbell, White Bear was a more focused project that captured the character of the band. While White Bear is more structured than the band’s first eponymous album, their music mirrors the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll from the ’60s and ’70s. It has consistently high energy and the authenticity of the band shines through. I can imagine being a part of the audience, in one of their many concerts, singing along to the catchy tunes. It is as though the album was made for the live performance.
White Bear starts off with “Three Bulleits,” a high energy jam that sets the tone for the rest of the album. Most of the songs on the album maintain a faster pace with notable guitar riffs. The strength of the rhythm section is also ever-present throughout the album.
The standouts on this album for me are “A Pleasant Place I Feel” and “I Hope I’m Not Losing my Mind.” These two songs surprise due to their difference in pace and style from all the others in the album. “A Pleasant Place I Feel” is undoubtedly my favourite, due to its dynamic pace, impressive drum solos and memorable guitar riffs. In the spirit of a classic The Temperance Movement song, too, the chorus is as catchy as ever.
I cannot effectively review this album without making reference to Phil Campbell’s gritty voice. In my short talk with him, he said that authenticity in music to him is to sing a song with a hundred percent, no matter the circumstances or how you are feeling. Authenticity to him means being present in the moment and being real. His voice is timeless. In the ballad, “I Hope I’m Not Losing my Mind,” this specific idea of authenticity is obvious.
White Bear is an enjoyable album that establishes The Temperance Movement as a group I will be looking out for in the future.