Let’s get one thing right from the word go, Templeton Pek are easily one of the most underrated bands I have ever come across. No shit!
I’ve been watching them from afar since they started making waves in the UK underground punk rock scene around 12 years ago and Templeton Pek are one of those rare musical beasts that gets better with every release. Not huge steps, just surely and steadily bettering themselves and evolving as songwriters. The feat that makes me extra happy about this is that they have never, at any point, jumped on any bandwagons, changed their core direction or compromised in any way. Even some of the best bands that have ever existed cannot boast that.
Watching the World Come Undone is record number five, and it is fucking fantastic! It is 32 and a bit minutes of energetic, thought-provoking, emotive, perfectly executed and dynamic modern melodic punk rock. I know when reading reviews such as this one, people are looking for references to decide if it will be for them. If you already like the band, then this is just going to affirm and increase the affection. If you aren’t familiar with Templeton Pek, then let me try and put it into perspective for you, and you should take this very seriously. You know when The Offspring aren’t doing quirky songs or straight up punk rock, but exploring their darker, more stirring side? Well, just about every moment of these ten songs are in that vein. Add a large dose of Rise Against, a cup full of Southern Californian Epi/Fat Skate punk bands like Pulley, No Use For a Name, Ignite, and Strung Out’s less metallic moments, and then just the smallest pinch of post hardcore bands on the more punk rock side of the fence like Silverstein or Alexisonfire (without the screaming). Now then…how incredible does that sound?
Highlights? Throw a dart! If pushed, then I’d have to say ‘Black Hearts’ is arguably the best song on this release, and of Templeton Pek’s entire discography. Try not to get heavy feels with the repeating lead line and the solo in the second half of the song. Whether it’s a single track, some rich multitracking, or harmonies that never sound anything other than human, Neal Mitchell’s vocals are spectacular on all ten tracks. There is a new edge to his singing that just sounds like he really is enjoying his role more than ever. With that said, the whole band sound hungrier than ever; more urgent, pissed off, and with a real point to prove to something, someone, or themselves, and are all the better for it.
From opening track, ‘Nowhere to Hide,’ there’s no fucking around. Huge chorus after huge chorus, Templeton Pek have some pre-chorus’ that are better than many a bands best chorus. The second track, ‘Oblivious,’ is perhaps the only slight chink in the armor, but that is relative to the standard here which, as you can tell, is ludicrously high. Even then, it features a vocal line of “what if we’re where we belong” that has a what can only be described as a sublime delivery that I never tire of.
‘The Awakening,’ which is available on all the usual platforms, already is one of those goose bump few minutes both lyrically and musically that Templeton Pek seem to make their mission statement to deliver. To say that these guys know how to string together a chord progression is an understatement of the highest order. I could go into the merits of each and every track, but that is wasting time that you could be using to listen to the two tracks already out (the other being ‘Sirens’).
Templeton Pek also have kept the hyper speed of some of their influences from across the pond and I hope they never lose that aspect as they use it to just the right measure. In that respect though, there is still something very British sounding about the band, and that is something that adds to their overall sound. You have got to remember, Templeton Pek remained a punk rock trio through the whole era of bands sharing bills during the Screamo/Post Hardcore explosion of the 2000’s. They often found themselves playing to largely uninterested crowds as the sore thumb on bills of either Funeral for a Friend or Taking Back Sunday wannabe bands, that for the most part, never went anywhere. That the boys in Templeton Pek have played all over the globe now, recorded two records in high end studios in California with legendary producers, and played to packed houses with some of their musical heroes and in their own right is testament to the fact that if you’re this fucking good and stick to it, you will come out on top.
Watching the World Come Undone is the best album I have heard since 2014 across any genre, and an undoubted all killer, zero filler five out of five! Buy it February 23 on Drakkar Records!