It’s been a while but our resident classic rock columnist Self Made Man has checked in with his first missive of the New Year. Enjoy.
It’s just days until The Temperance Movement release their second album White Bear and I confess to being just a tad worried.
The reviews I have read so far suggest it is very different from their self-titled debut album and therein lies the problem.
For that was an album I loved all the way through from opener Only Friend to its last track Serenity. So much so in fact, I made it my best album of 2013.
It’s not that I want The Temperance Movement to stick rigidly to its sound, structure and substance.
What made their debut so enjoyable was the band’s ability to experiment, adapt and change within its own parameters.
Second album syndrome is a problem that has beset many bands over the decades.
In recent times, I’ve bought albums by bands such as The Parlor Mob and Saint Jude which promised so much only for them to disappear virtually without trace.
Back in the 70s when Album was King perhaps the most famous example of a band who failed to live up to the standards its debut set was Montrose.
Their self-titled debut, featuring such rock classics as Rock The Nation, Bad Motor Scooter and Space Station No. 5, even resulted in critics comparing them to Led Zeppelin.
But follow-up Paper Money was a pale shadow, though, surprisingly, it outperformed its predecessor in the US charts.
With Sammy Hagar going his separate ways, co-founder Ronnie Montrose was never able to achieve similar success either with that band or Gamma.
Boston and Guns n’ Roses are two bands who released record-breaking debut albums which to this day remain far and away the best in their respective catalogues.
Indeed, with Boston, track one, side one More Than A Feeling is still the song that best defines them.
It’s not quite he same with Welcome To The Jungle from G n’ R’s Appetite For Destruction though the trilogy of WTTJ, Paradise City and Sweet Child O’ Mine from the album are still their most popular songs with fans today.
Boston and Guns N Roses didn’t exactly nosedive with their follow-up albums despite never scaling such heights again.
In the past 25 years, there are further examples of bands whose debut releases were critically acclaimed while their successors were panned.
The Stone Roses’ first album remains a favourite for many music fans while it’s not inaccurate to say Second Coming is enjoyed more by hardcore followers of the band.
Oasis released many fine albums but fans’ polls suggest Definitely Maybe is their favourite way ahead of Morning Glory, Heathen Chemistry or any others.
It’s a similar case with Counting Crowes. Their first album August And Everything is indisputably the one fans prefer to any of its many follow-ups.
While it would be harsh in the extreme to say the decline set in after Album No. 1, none of the aforementioned groups eclipsed the music which announced them.
Of course, the truly great bands release outstanding debuts and just get better and better. Think Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rush…..the list is endless.
Just hoping that in a fortnight’s time, I can add The Temperance Movement to it.