Somehow, without a great deal of fanfare or hype, The Cooper Temple Clause have returned after a significant absence with one of the best albums of the past year. While much of the music press were getting excited by debut albums from The View and Klaxons and the return of Bloc Party, 'Make This Your Own' was released, and is a more varied collection of tracks than all of those I chose to mention, and plenty more I didn't put together. The loss of a member made the band rethink how they produced their music and was a great opportunity to create a more focused piece of work. The resulting eleven tracks take you on a journey through electro, acoustic, heavy rock, Pink Floyd like weirdness and straight up Indy pop, but at all points this album is crying out to be heard in the live arena. Cue a visit to the Shepherds Bush Empire to see if it delivers and to refresh the memory of how CTC have plenty of forgotten classics in their armoury.
The set opened with 'Head', one of the electronic influenced tracks, and although there was the usual excitement rush that greets any headline band as they take to the stage, it was the early appearance of 'Waiting Games' that took this gig to the next level.
New songs like 'Damage' and 'Homo Sapiens' went down especially well, as did 'Once More With Feeling' and 'All I See Is You' with the heaviest parts of the latter two songs provoking a huge response. It would have been interesting to see how the acoustic, almost country based 'Take Comfort' was received but sadly that was one of the new songs left out.
There have been two high profile tours in recent months where rock acts have decided to play their new album from start to finish, and I'd have been more than happy had Cooper Temple Clause taken the Iron Maiden, My Chemical Romance approach and done the same. This is because with a band taking such a break from the UK public eye it's easy to forget, unless you're one of their bigger fans, how strong some of the older material is. In fact the mixture of seeing a band playing songs that have been hammered on the CD player over the past couple of months, plus throwing in a few "oh yeah, forgot how good that was" moments made for a cracking night. 'Promises Promises' was massive but for me 'Blind Pilots' was the highlight of the older material.
The last word for the night was left for those who've followed Cooper Temple Clause since the beginning as the final two songs were from 2002 album 'See This Through and Leave', 'Lets Kill Music' and 'Panzer Attack'. The latter proving that this nu-rave gubbins maybe isn't quite the radical musical development some would have us believe.
At the time of writing this review no official confirmation has come as to which festivals CTC will be playing over the summer but do yourself a favour and check them out if they're at the same one as you. Oh and if you haven't done so, go and buy 'Make This Your Own' and find out for yourself if it is really as good as I think it is.