This is a review of "Untitled" recorded by The Tempus. The review was written by Jessica Thornsby in 2008.
This demo kicks off in encouraging style, with ‘Thieves and Lovers,’ a blend of innovative riffs, subtle hooks, genuinely heartfelt lyrics and slick drum rolls. Right from the get-go, ‘Thieves and Lovers’ secures the listener’s attention by offering up its central tune, delicately picked out on an acoustic guitar. Bursts of drum-roll and crashing-but-melodic riffs are then bolted on, and the song slips seamlessly into full swing. It’s a subtly striking beginning that sets the tone for the rest of ‘Thieves and Lovers’ as its many moments of quick, understated beauty are blended perfectly with its catchy chorus and curiously plodding, but still-addictive riffs. The most impressive thing about ‘Thieves and Lovers’ is not how faultlessly it mixes drum-heavy sections, whimsical-sounding chords and more conventionally awkward indie riffs - but how effortless it all sounds. Anyone who can make edgy indie sound this natural definitely deserves its fair share of attention.
Second track, ‘Making New’ sees The Tempus step things up a notch. Vocalist Jonny Miller’s shivery up-down-up contributions to the chorus won’t be to everyone’s taste (they’re a bit too self-consciously slick) but the chorus’ entertaining rock and roll swagger more than makes up for this.
The intricate guitar solos sprinkled throughout the song, combined with Miller’s charismatic vocals give ‘Making New’ bucket loads of much-needed individuality. Miller’s voice is by no means an exceptionally strong one, but it has that sort of indefinable appeal that’ll keep the listener coming back for more, if only because they’ll want to work out what it has that’s so appealing.
This Life Is Mine’ is the most experimental, and weaker, of the three tracks. In its favour are raw riffs and Miller’s curiously hoarse-throated vocals, which give ‘This Life Is Mine’ a hard-rocking slant unseen on the other two songs. On the downside, The Tempus insist on repeatedly cutting the music in this-song-is-over-haha-fooled-you fashion. When ‘This Life is Mine’ finally comes to a close, it’s easy to mistake for yet another false ending and, after the listener has waited a few moments and realises that was the end, chances are they’ll feel a little cheesed off.
The Tempus certainly have a lot going for them. They’re able to turn out effortless-sounding songs, and have a real flair for subtle inventiveness that sets them apart from their similar-sounding contemporaries without running the risk of alienating their target audience. This demo hits the ground running, and rarely puts a foot wrong for the whole of the three song tracklist. Hopefully, we’ll be hearing much more from The Tempus in the future.