It has been a tumultuous few years for Scottish rockers The Temperance Movement. Founding member and guitarist Lucas Potashnick quit before the release of 2016’s White Bear, with drummer Damon Wilson following his lead soon after. Not to mention lead singer Phil Campbell nearly succumbing to his alcohol and drugs problems again during their American tour. So with replacement members secured, Matt White and Simon Lea on guitar and drums respectively, and long-term producer Sam Miller in place comes their third album A Deeper Cut (Earache) – a genuinely cathartic release of energetic, blues-based rock.
Whilst made in difficult circumstances A Deeper Cut is undoubtedly a great record and a natural progression for the band. Namely organic and emotionally-charged 60s and 70s influenced rock that continues the cocksure swagger of White Bear but with their heart placed more firmly on their sleeve. ‘Caught in the Middle’ gets us off to the perfect start, a lively number replete with the punchy cut and thrust of Dr. Feelgood. The same is also true of ‘Built in Forgetter’ and ‘Love and Devotion’, all short and sharp and crackling with life.
This record is a slow burner, with more mellow and emotive moments than the instantaneous, radio-friendly smash and grab of White Bear – the most heartfelt of which being the piano-led ‘Children’ and the acoustic title track. Whilst not all these mournful numbers hits the mark, for example, the all-too-mellow ‘Another Spiral’ and ‘Beast Nation’, they are surrounded by livelier tracks that bring you back up again – the raucous, toe-tappers ‘Backwater Zoo’ and ‘The Way it Was and the Way it is Now’ do this job marvellously. The last track ‘The Wonders We’ve Seen’ is a perfect mix of both their anthemic and mournful sides, a lighter-waving set closer that swells to a rousing, Rival Sons-like finish.
Half headbanging anthems and half heartfelt balladry, A Deeper Cut is an accomplished album with a pleasing sense of bluesy authenticity throughout.