Cooper Temple Clause
So, it's a Saturday night, we're all in a good mood thanks to Sir David of Healy's hat-trick heroics, this is going to have to be absolutely dreadful for me not to enjoy it. Thankfully I didn't have to worry about that. The Cooper Temple Clause don't disappoint.
Opening up with 'Head' from new album 'Make This Your Own', the immediate impression is that this is proper music from a proper band, featuring a proper drummer with proper sunglasses on indoors. Proper. The loss of a member to Dirty Pretty Things hasn't hurt them. Wishing us a 'Happy Saturday' this is a band who seem happy to be back after so long of an absence (their last Belfast gig was oooooohhh, years ago). The proper music continues with 'Been Training Dogs', a nice rocky number that sounds like the paranoia of a band who believe that sleep is an optional extra.
Recent single 'Waiting Game' is at odds with everything else, almost commercial in its sound, but even then still comes across as a lost Suede track. 'Damage' is the great lost collaboration between The Rapture and Queens Of The Stone Age, with a little punk-funk bit that taps you on the shoulder and while you're looking the other way batters it's way into your brain and 'Homo Sapiens' deserves to have a mosh-pit destroying venues a lot larger than this. This is proper art-house rock music - constraints are thrown away and every genre and type of music is ripe for harvesting. We've got dance mixed with every hue of guitar music, from indie, to art-rock, to punk, metal and drone. It's a reflection of the disparate tastes of modern society, all amalgamated together, and this may be what is holding them back - they don't fit into nice neat little compartments, and so can't be marketed to the right demographic.
'A.I.M.' is practically trip-hop with extra guitars, it's like DJ Shadow or Unkle. 'Music Box' and 'Once More With Feeling' are segued into a demented deranged electronic epic that is simultaneously hypnotic, unsettling, and in the scope of anything Aphex Twin, Fourtet or Radiohead have ever done. Really, justice cannot be done to how good this bit is, certainly not on the page or by listening to the songs in their original recorded form - if you weren't there, you missed out. Finishing their set with a collection of earlier material, 'Film Maker', 'Who Needs Enemies?' (a song which sneaks up and grabs you by the throat when you're not suspecting it) and 'Blind Pilots', it's clear that this is a band who grown beyond making mere music and are instead more interested in making art for your ears.
And then there's the encore. It's got two blistering tracks in there, both oldies, but definitely goodies - 'Let's Kill Music' and 'Panzer Attack'. Both extended, electrified and demented, the latter in particular attacking us like a tank, degenerating into a wall of noise and screams.
I'd forgotten how much I like the Coopers. I won't make that mistake again.
Photos by Alan Maguire - www.livemusicpics.com