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The Temperance Movement to perform at Cambridge Junction

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The Temperance Movement / Shot in Shoreditch by Rob Blackham / www.blackhamimages.com
The Temperance Movement / Shot in Shoreditch by Rob Blackham / www.blackhamimages.com

British band The Temperance Movement have emerged unscathed from one of the most turbulent periods of their career.

Following two acclaimed albums, the British five-piece found themselves plunged into a period of personal turmoil and crisis that threatened to destroy everything they’d built up.

The band’s stunning third album, A Deeper Cut, is simultaneously anthemic, defiant and cathartic. It bears echoes of the great rock’n’roll icons of the ’60s and ’70s from the Faces and Led Zeppelin to Free and the Rolling Stones.

The band will be delivering some of these new cuts when they arrive at the Cambridge Junction on February 20.

New songs such as the electrifying Caught In The Middle, the swaggering Built-in Forgetter and the emotionally charged title track are the sound of a band reborn.

“As the name suggests, A Deeper Cut is a deeper album, a more honest album,” says singer Phil Campbell. “It’s not us hiding or pretending to be something we’re not. It’s us saying, ‘This is what the band is’.”

The Temperance Movement’s early years were a rocket ride. Following a Best New Band Award from Classic Rock magazine in 2013, their first two albums, 2013’s self-titled debut album and its follow-up, 2016’s White Bear both smashed into the UK Top 20, while they scored a No 1 Canadian Rock Radio with their 2015 single Oh Lorraine.

But despite the critical and commercial success, all wasn’t well within the band’s ranks. Founding guitarist Luke Potashnick quit before White Bear was released and drummer Damon Wilson followed him in 2016.

“Luke took the band to a certain point, but I don’t think he was very comfortable with it getting any bigger,” says Phil. “He didn’t really enjoy the experience of touring America, and I could see that was the case. It was kind of soul destroying to see someone quite actively pulling away.”

The core trio of Campbell, Sayer and bassist Nick Fyffe enlisted guitarist Matt White and drummer Simon Lea to replace the departed musicians but the band’s problems were far from over.

Singer Phil had successfully conquered drug and alcohol problems in the past – hence the band’s name, a reference to a 19th- century abstinence movement. But he was beginning to slip back into his bad old ways.

“I’d had my booze and drug experience, now I was supposed to be straight,” he said. “But the experience of singing in The Temperance Movement was physically demanding, and I used that as an excuse to start smoking weed again. I had this thing of always being high on stage, or at least having something afterwards. I became someone who was like a child, just getting carried by the rest of the band.

“That lifestyle and this band just do not go together. I saw a future where it all just went wrong because of it, where the band broke down and we ended up nowhere. We’ve all put in too much time and emotion for that to happen.

“I got to a place where I was just so angry at myself for having wasted so much time with that stuff. I was relying on something to make me feel alive, when in reality I can do that on my own.”

All the pain they’ve been through has arguably been worth it though when you listen to their latest offering.

Recorded with longtime producer Sam Miller, A Deeper Cut is the sound of a band with a new lease of life.

Phil said: “It’s about human performances. It’s about that thing you can only get from people playing together. I firmly believe in bands playing music that speeds up and slows down, where you can see the flaws in it.

“More than ever it feels like five people on the same page, wanting the same thing.”

The Temperance Movement play J1 at the Cambridge Junction at 7pm on Tuesday, February 20. Support comes from Thomas Wynn & The Believers. Tickets: £17 advance. Box office: 01223 511511.

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