by Ben Adsett
Templeton Pek are celebrating ten years with a record deal by releasing their fifth LP, and it might just be the best yet from the Birmingham three-piece. Watching the World Come Undone sees the band take on a darker set of lyrical themes, which are fitting with the current political climate.
Despite having continuous lyrical themes and subjects, this is miles away from an epic prog rock concept album, instead we get ten tracks of the finest melodic punk.
From the opener, ‘Nowhere to Hide’, it is clear that this is a release that is full of purpose, with its building vocal anger that seethes its way to a snarling climax. However, hidden within the anger is an infectious chorus; it’s a clever song writing combination that has been ever present over the band’s decade long career.
Each track effortlessly transitions into the next, becoming even more evident as lyrical themes develop and expand throughout. Themes that are loosely based around the disillusion felt with the current political climate, but cleverly matched up with a personal reflection; mental health, love, loss and life within these times. Combining such heavy themes with catchy hooks and choruses is commendable.
Musically, the instrumentation creates a rich sound from relative simplicity, showing creative intelligent song writing along with musical proficiency. It is hard to nail down a sound comparison, but within the ten tracks there are definitely nods towards Epitaph/Fat Wreck Chords punk rock, noughties British rock, and early emo, as well as taking influence from a wider range of genres, from metal to power pop and beyond. This varied set of influences create an ever changing LP that remains interesting from first to last note.
In a release that flows together so effortlessly its can be hard to find stand out tracks. ‘Oblivious’ is a definite future live favourite and combines a deep choppy bassline that could have dropped straight out of a Hundred Reasons single with a stirring chorus that has the polished harmonies of indie pop. The intro to ‘The Awakening’ combines that low choppy bass with distant guitar and a rolling drum groove, creating a heavier edge. The vocal intro of ‘Axis’ leads into Bad Religion style guitars and sees TP at their heaviest, before ‘Aftermath’ uses guitars and vocals straight out of the Hell Is For Heroes playbook, again elevated by an infectious chorus.
‘Sirens’ and ‘Collision Course’ fit neatly together just after the halfway point, with both tracks employing razor sharp guitar and bass interplay. The album ends on a clever combo of ‘Black Hearts’, featuring an early Paramore like bass line and tight harmonies, ‘City of Fire’ with its Billy Talent style guitar and vocals full of emotional cracks, and finally, ‘On Our Own’ which offers a moment of quieter reflection before delivering the biggest chorus on the whole album.
Watching The World Come Undone cleverly plots the demise of a political system without ever being preachy. It finds a balance within interlocking personal themes which add to the arguments and also create a bond with the listener. This is a release far cleverer than the infectious hooks and huge choruses suggest.
Watching The World Come Undone is out on February 23rd via Drakkar Entertainment.