The Cooper Temple Clause - Kick Up The Fire, And Let The Flames Break Loose (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Cooper Temple Clause

Kick Up The Fire, And Let The Flames Break Loose (2004)


This album actually surprised me. It starts out with some sampled strings and then soft, jazz inspired drum beat. I was intrigued. With so much music sounding the same these days, my interest was definitely piqued when the song started to build. "And so it has to change" croons Ben Gautrey for the opening line of the album in a sweet soft voice reminiscent of a mix between Chris Connely and Thom Yorke . "The Same Mistakes" then continues to build until eventually four minutes into the song it breaks out rocking. Then onto the CDs single "Promises Promises," which features the crappiest most annoying guitar riff intro and sounds like some crappy nü-metal rock. I was disappointed. I put the album back in the stack to review later.

Today, however, I picked up the CD again and this time skipped track 2. And I discovered that the rest of the CD was good like the first track. To describe their sound, I'd have to say it's easy to write them off as a Radiohead sound alike due to their experimentation with drum machines and spacey guitar riffs. What sets The Cooper Temple Clause apart is that their music definitely springs from indie rock roots instead of 90s alternative. There are times where you can definitely grab a vibe akimbo to Bright Eyes, Guided By Voices, or Pedro the Lion.

What I think really gives The Cooper Temple Clause individuality is their ability to layer. It's a six person band, and everyone contributes to vocals. It's not a surprise to have a consistent three to six track vocal throughout an entire song. The harmonies are written really well too, with each part getting lower than the melody instead of building higher, so some parts are almost talking. Besides vocals, two members are attributed to keyboards, guitars, synths, and programming leaving the music with so many layers and harmonies that it's almost impossible to have it not be pleasing to the ear.

After track 2 (skip it! skip it! trust me!), the album drops to slower and quieter pieces like "New Toys" and "Talking to a Brick Wall" which dabble in a lot more experimentation with music. The hook is track 6, "Blind Pilots," which is a straight ahead rocker complete with palm muting and four chord pattern and rock out, sing along chorus. Imagine The Cars coked out of their heads and on acid. That's the best way to describe the way "Blind Pilots" is put together. The vocals stick out on this track also adding a rusty iron quality to them that was absent in the slower songs. A true gem and probably my favorite off of the album. The album then slows down a bit, but keeps up the intensity with "A.I.M.," a slower, spacier rock out than the previous track. The true epitome of The Cooper Temple Clause is revealed through their last track, "Written Apology." "Written Apology" is a 10 minute slow, bluesy piano song characterized by it's use of interesting percussion like sleigh bells and almost hip-hop drum beats as it builds slowly in lieu of "The Same Mistakes." When the song breaks into a 3/4 rocker at three and a half minutes is where all the songs on the album begin to tie together (except track 2). The song ends truly around five minutes where it drops back the original amount of instrumentation. What picks up with that is basically a 5 minute mirror of the song in breakbeat style techno that rivals most techno groups. Genius.

I say this record is worth the purchase. The only problem I can really find with it is track 2, but that's easily solved by importing the CD to your iTunes and deleting track 2 from the playlist. Done and done.