Well, here we are. Standing on the edge of the precipice watching the lunatics eat the keys to the asylum as they try and convince us all the locks are frozen solid. It’s been stated by every man and his dog that right wing governments stimulate the finest punk rock and with the UK and the US both on a conservative lean at the moment, the trees of the disaffected should be by now beginning to bear fruit.
Birmingham-based Templeton Pek have come up with ten tracks of poignant, pissed off and at times downright bleak music for their fourth full length release, drawing on the state we’re in, its paradoxes, injustice and lunacy. The result is a serious record, no tongue-in-cheek panto punk rock just a full-on assault waged at the powers that be but shouldn’t.
Starting with Nowhere to Hide and having not heard anything from them before I’m getting an Anti-Flag feel straight away. You can also tell that it’s been mixed really well to fit their sound: everything is punchy yet crystal clear with all parts of the mix distinguishable. It later came as no surprise that this was done at Hurley Studios where some of the US’ bigger bands favour to post produce and it suits.
Anyway, back to the album. There’s no short songs here. Second track in and we’re getting vocal driven, early 90s style beef over three minutes. Lots of crunchy bass, rasping guitar, solid drums with the vocals carrying every song along to the finish yet still all sounding very ‘big’. Even through my shitty little office speakers it’s pretty hefty as regards production. In fact this theme continues throughout the record, they’re all BIG songs, particularly the vocals. I’m not over-emphasising this, either, as they are the dominant focus in every track. But that maybe is the point of this LP, as the whole concept is one of a message, it has stuff to say, to make you think and it’s delivered in such a way to be completely decipherable without scouring an inlay for the words. This makes a refreshing change for someone who was brought up with another Birmingham band who are famously indecipherable to make ‘you suffer’.
I’m not the biggest fan of meticulous production, but this whole album works because of it. It took a few listens but it got there and then I got it. It’s a story LP, as in it works from start to finish. There’s no standout tracks for me as it flows as a whole complete package, an MOT of the state we’re in. The worries and woes of a bunch of blokes who write music.
Many bands have a message, some would say an agenda. Some don’t. The one thing this album does have is big songs with big concerns. Sometimes it’s refreshing to access what a band are getting at instantly and Templeton Pek are one of them. Definitely sitting in the same ballpark as some of the bigger American bands they’ve toured with regarding their sound but with a socio-political agenda of some of the current DIY acts from the UK and Europe. Catch them live on tour in April around the UK: I know I will.