Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Templeton Pek - Signs

Templeton Pek
Century Media Records/E.M.I. Music Australia

Birmingham (U.K.) based trio Templeton Pek have earned quite a reputation throughout Europe in recent years as one of the hardest touring outfits, with the band sharing the stage with a countless number of acts in order to get their name out there. But outside of touring, the band (Who comprise of vocalist/bassist Neal Mitchell, guitarist/vocalist Kev Green and drummer Simon Barford) have also been quite busy on the studio side of things, with two full-length efforts (2008’s ‘No Association’ and 2010’s ‘Scratches & Scars’) to their name.
It really comes as no surprise to see the band climbing the ranks at a speeding pace as the years tick by, and even less surprising to find that a major label has finally picked up the band. But what’s a little puzzling is why Century Media Records happened to be the label that eventually picked up such an act. I’m not saying that Century Media Records isn’t a worthy label, but the fact that the label picked up a punk-influenced rock act seems a little out of character for the label.
Despite this, as soon as the ink was dry on the contract, the band soon entered the studio with producer Greg Haver (Who has previously worked with Manic Street Preachers and Bullet For My Valentine), and duly released their Century Media Records debut in the form of their ‘Slow Down For Nothing’ E.P. in 2012. Needless to say, the E.P. was critically acclaimed and was followed by some extensive touring from the band.
Some twelve months on, and Templeton Pek are back with their highly anticipated third full-length album ‘Signs’. And as expected, it’s another huge leap for the band in sound.
On the song writing side of things, not a real lot has changed. The band have always had a knack for writing catchy tunes, and Mitchell’s vocals have always been a big drawcard for emphasising the cleverly crafted melodies that have always been a big part of the band’s overall sound. What has been improved upon is the instrumental aspect of the band’s performance. Producer Shep Goodman (Who has worked with Four Year Strong, Bayside and From Autumn To Ashes amongst others) has managed to give the band a bit more aggression and power to their sound, which undoubtedly gives ‘Signs’ a kick that neither of the band’s former releases could ever hope to have had.
The opening track ‘Who We Are’ is a good measure of what the band is all about in terms of direction, with the band seamlessly blending elements of punk and rock, but without falling into the cliché territory of bashing out the tried and true pop/punk rock songs commonly associated with such descriptions of their sound.
The follow up track ‘Trial And Error’ boasts some impressive shifts in gears in the tempo sense to give the song a bit more dynamics, while ‘Difference’, ‘Wake Me Up’ and the guitar driven ‘Alive (Promise Is Safety)’ have a sound that’s geared more towards modern hard rock, but with a touch of punk rock to spice things up just that bit more.
If there’s a bit of a drawback to ‘Signs’, it’s that a few of the tracks on the album have already been released before. Both ‘Barriers’ and ‘Slow Burn’ have been resurrected from ‘Scratches & Scars’ in different form, while ‘What Are You Waiting For’ and the title track ‘Signs’ originally appeared on E.P. release from last year. Granted, all of the tracks are some of the best the band have penned (Especially ‘Slow Burn’, which is something quite different with its orchestral accompaniment, and ‘Signs’, which just rocks big time!), but it’s still a little disappointing that they didn’t take the opportunity to focus on some newer tunes for their new album.
Despite the recycled feel of some of the tracks on offer, ‘Signs’ is a rock solid album from start to finish, and another fine example of what Templeton Pek are capable of. I guess in the end it’s not that hard to figure out why Century Media Records signed the band on after all! ‘Signs’ comes highly recommended to those who like to rock a little more on the punk side of things.

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© Justin Donnelly

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