Musical, Lyrical Changes Make ‘Deep Cuts’ Another Interesting LP From The Temperance Movement

September 3, 2018 by: admin

Courtesy: Snakefarm/Spinefarm Records

By Philip Sayblack

Early last month, rock outfit The Temperance Movement released its third full-length studio recording to the masses to American Audiences via Snakefarm/Spinefarm Records.  The band’s third album overall, it was originally released overseas  Feb. 16 via Earache/Concord Music Group. The 12-song collection presents a slight change of pace from the band in comparison to the band’s previous albums, but even with that in mind, will still impress American audiences.  That is in fact due in part to that change of pace in the record’s overall musical approach.  It will be addressed shortly.  In direct connection, the album’s sequencing plays its own important part to the whole of the album.  It will be discussed a little bit later.  The album’s production rounds out its most important elements.  Each item is important in its own way, as will be pointed out here.  All things considered, the album in whole proves to be its own “deep” presentation that audiences will thoroughly enjoy.

The Temperance Movement’s latest full-length studio recording A Deeper Cut is its own “deep” musical offering that audiences are certain to enjoy just as much as the band’s first two albums.  That is due in part to the fact that the band has taken a slightly different approach to this album than its predecessors.  While the band’s familiar, pure rock and roll sound is just as evident as ever throughout the album, there are also some more noticeably toned down entries added to the mix, too.  The album’s title track, which comes early in the album’s run is just one of those more mellow entries included here.  Musically speaking, it boasts (at least to this critic) hints of the Eagles and Simon & Garfunkel.  In regards to its lyrical content, it offers just as much interest as front man Phil Campbell sings, “A deeper cut to draw my blood/So you can feel the wonder stuff/Who’ve I been kidding/Who am I kidding/That’s enough/’Cause we’re supposed to be beautiful/And all this time it’s been ludicrous/There’s always something in the way/A deeper cut than what you got/Before you know the ins and outs/A sweeter death than all the rest/That’s not how it works.”  This comes across as a pretty deep topic.  No pun was intended this time.  It comes across as someone addressing another person who is on that edge.  It could be a completely incorrect interpretation, and if so, then so be it.  Either way, the melancholy nature of the song’s musical arrangement and even the lyrical content is a direction that the band has rarely delved into previously.  It’s not the only song included in the record that takes that more subdued route.  The southern rock/country vibe of ‘Another Spiral,’ the record’s midpoint, is another of the record’s more subdued moments.

Whereas the album’s title track was a rather brooding type of work, this song, lyrically, is more positive.  This is inferred as Campbell sings over the record’s Jamey Johnson/Zac Brown Band style arrangement, “Gentle is the love I breathe for you/Tiny whispers on your eyes/Now I’m hoping and I’m open to anything/And when you fall into another spiral going under/Hold on.”  He goes on to sing over the song’s subdued musical arrangement, “Precious is the kiss of innocence/In the shadows of your mind/When you’re haunted, and unwanted images terrify/And when you fall into another spiral going under/Hold on.”  This comes across as someone telling another not to give up no matter how bad things might get.  The gentle approach shows again that more mellow approach that the band decided to try more so in this record.  It’s more proof of why that approach helps the album, too and most certainly not the last.  ‘Beast Nation,’ which immediately follows ‘Another Spiral’ is another way in which the album’s more mellow approach shows itself.

‘Beast Nation’ is not the subtle, subdued work that ‘A Deeper Cut’ and ‘Another Spiral’ are, but it still is more reserved than much of what the band has done before.  The best description that can be given to the song’s musical arrangement is that its like crossing the best elements of the Eagles with Aerosmith.  It sounds like quite the interesting combination, but it works, and its subtle approach shows once again the band’s directed attempt to give audiences something different this time around.  The song’s lyrical content works well with that musical approach as Campbell seems to sing about a war veteran.  This is inferred as he sings in the chorus, “When all you got left is a medal and a worn memory/Then the clarity comes and sediment settles/And you fly, fly away/And your wings are strong for all the right and wrong, you live to fight another day/Come inside and dry your eyes.”  Veterans are known to have strong memories, so reading through this, one can’t help but think this must be addressing a veteran fighting with those memories.  He sings of the figure having “no peace, no love, no money, no chief belief, no feeling, no wonder, no room, no space to breathe in and out, no end, no new beginning, no wonder.”  One can imagine these thoughts going through a soldier’s head as he fights in a war, being overcome with just one thought – survival.  That theme continues in the same fashion in the song’s second verse.  It all comes together with the song’s moving chorus to make ‘Beast Nation’ a powerful work in its own subtle way.  That is even though the song might not be as subtle and mellow as the other noted songs.  It certainly is not the last of the album’s more mellow entries, either.  ‘The Way It Was and The Way It Is Now’ and ‘Higher Than The Sun’ present that change of approach in this record, along with ‘Children,’ ‘There’s Still Time’ and ‘The Wonders We’ve Seen.’  Simply put, there’s a very noticeable change of tone from The Temperance Movement this time out, and it is a change that shows the band can still entertain even with a more reserved musical and lyrical approach overall.  Keeping this in mind, the record’s more reserved approach is just one of the elements that makes the album stand out.  Its sequencing plays into its presentation, too.

While this record is largely rounded out by noticeable reserved musical compositions and lyrical themes, those arrangements and themes are not all that listeners get here.  The album opens with a rollicking number with ‘Caught in the Middle’ that will instantly have listeners on their feet.  The energy exuded in that song carries on into ‘Built-In Forgetter,’ the record’s second song and then straight into ‘Love and Devotion.’  This trio of songs instantly conjures thoughts of Royal Blood and similar acts before the album starts to pull back.  Even as the band pulls back throughout the rest of the record, the album’s musical and lyrical energies never pull back too much at any one point.  Case in point is the Allman Brothers Band style ‘Backwater Zoo’ that breaks up the much more reserved nature of the record’s title track and ‘Another Spiral.’  ‘The Way It Was and The Way It Is Now’ is another of those moments that while mellow in its own right, changes the album’s overall vibe again.  The result is more insurance that listeners will remain engaged in the record.  ‘Higher Than The Sun’ also helps to keep things from getting too reserved for too long, even though it is also more mellow than the high energy songs that open the album.  As the album moves through its final trio of songs, its overall energy pulls back quite noticeably again.  The thing is that the subtlety in the songs’ musical arrangements and lyrics still makes for its own power to the end that once again listeners’ engagement will remain certain.  When this balance of energies is considered overall with the overall more mellow approach to this record, listeners will understand even more why this record proves so interesting.  It still is not the last of the record’s most important elements.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.

The production of this record stands out because of its impact to the record’s sound.  Considering the overall change in the album’s approach, even more attention than perhaps normal was needed to each song so as to make each work more emotionally impacting.  That attention to detail is exhibited in each song, too with not one part overpowering the others.  This applies both in the album’s high energy works and its more mellow and even emotional moments.  Because of that attention to detail throughout the album, the overall result is an album whose musical arrangements ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  Just as important to note is that the balance also means it is that much easier to understand what Campbell sings in each song.  On the surface that might not mean much, but in trying to interpret songs sans a lyrics sheet, it becomes very important.  Keeping that in mind, the record’s overall production took everything possible into consideration with the end result being a record that gives every member of the band his own credit.  The result of that is more appreciation for the album’s stylistic change and its sequencing.  That leads ultimately to more appreciation overall for the album and the band.

The Temperance Movement’s latest full-length studio recording A Deeper Cut is a record that lives up to its name from start to finish.  That is due in part to a stylistic change that shows the reach of the band’s talents and abilities.  The sequencing does plenty to put those talents and abilities on talent as does the record’s sequencing.  Each element is important in its own way to the album, as has been discussed here.  All things considered, the album proves to be a record with plenty of musical and lyrical depth and in turn another good effort from the band.  It is available now via Snakefarm/Spinefarm Records.  More information on A Deeper Cut is available online now along with all of The Temperance Movement’s latest news and more at:





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