There are some extreme positives and extreme negatives about the debut (well, technically second album) album from The Trouble With Templeton. Titled “Rookie” the album does indeed showcase some incredible songwriting skills but the borrowed dynamics made me feel like I’d heard this all done before a million times better by more established artists. So it is indeed an apt title for the band’s first big statement because it honestly feels like a lesser version of Radiohead or possibly The National from start to finish without that special flavour. It’s a lovely dialogue because it works and I enjoy the darkness and sway of that kind of London drone but the songs start to become so meaningful they become meaningless. This is an extremely humourless series of songs that could benefit from a sprinkle of humour, they take themselves way too seriously and that’s cool because there is a power to being serious about songwriting but in the case of The Trouble With Templeton it makes the songs a bit stiff and lifeless and the dynamics are a bit suffocated in the process, it all becomes a little too cold and impersonal.
On the plus side, this is a fantastic movement of songs that belong together. It is refreshing to hear an album proper from a modern band. The consistency with the way the album flows together gets big marks from me; the attention to detail in terms of mood and the emotional story is quite powerful. You can tell that this means something to the creators and I’m excited for them, because this is indeed something they’ve been building too for quite a while. Although my main complaint is always going to be the lack of envelope pushing in terms of the song dynamics. Sometimes just playing an “a to b” song without the dramatics of experimentation can thrill people and I have a feeling that “Rookie” will thrill a lot of people.
I’m probably the worst person to be reviewing “Rookie” because I no longer just desire good songs; I like the artist to really scare me with what’s lurking beneath their tortured emotional soul. I want to be thrilled and amazed by a whole bunch of weirdness and noise, a total headfuck framed by some deeply humorous and deeply personal poetry. I just don’t get that from The Trouble With Templeton but I can appreciate that this is a deep emotional release for the band and they are sincere about it which is refreshing to hear. I’m glad a band like The Trouble Of Templeton exist because much like their current Neatcore peers they are helping turn younger audiences on to the power of a deep / intense / meaningful pop song and providing the bridge to some more interesting sounding bands / music.
I reckon by album number three this band will really rock my world by turning their back on formula’s and indie radio rock requirements and all the hype of “next big thing” and just play from their fucking hearts. I can’t wait for that record from this band because they have the intense intelligence to do it.
All that aside, you’ll probably love it and to be honest I’m excited that you’re excited.
7 Cassette Tapes out of 10
By: Dan Newton