Back in 2013, people had barely heard of the Temperance Movement. Undeterred, this collective of rock’n’roll lifers (coming from Jamiroquai, Rooster and others) changed all that with their self-titled debut – a sparky evocation of Little Feat, the Black Crowes and other classic influences.
It went to No.12 in the UK chart, critics across the board purred, and the five-piece went on tour with the Rolling Stones. In an age where new rock isn’t supposed to stand a chance on the big stage, this was a reassuring rise.
“The first album was a tip of the hat to the way recording was done in the past, and a reaction to very controlled pop music being made by far too many people at one time,” says singer Phil Campbell. “I think this new one captured the sound of the band we’ve become on tour with the first album.”
White Bear has gone down well at Classic Rock towers. Yes, it’s broadly the same breed of Crowes-referencing rock as last time, but with certain crucial differences.
“I think the difference is confidence, and a band who’s been given the thumbs-up by legendary figures like the Stones and Jimmy Page,” Campbell says. “You mix that with a bunch of touring and you get a second record that’s allowed to have a little glam, a bit of personality, and to be a bit boisterous sometimes.”
And so it is, with tracks like Get Yourself Free offering charismatic evidence of their new flair. There are experimental moments too – A Pleasant Peace I Feel, for example, is a contemplative change of pace. “We were beginning to get a bit fed up with playing the same thing over and over again,” Campbell says. “We were hungry to come out of soundchecks and record. Our sound guy would start recording, or somebody would pick up a phone and start recording.”
The new album was subsequently laid down in three sessions: one in London’s Fish Factory (where they recorded their debut), one at Rockfield (past clients include Black Sabbath, Robert Plant and Motörhead) and a third at Angelic Studios, Oxfordshire. By January it was being finished.
In September, guitarist Luke Potashnick left the group, amicably, to pursue writing/studio work. His replacement hadn’t been confirmed as we went to press, but the collective mood is very much a forward-thinking one. Campbell, for one, isn’t feeling the pressure. “I’m just thankful for the opportunity to do this,” he says. “Being in this group, it’s what I was always meant to be doing.”