Track By Track: Tempertwig—’Fake Nostalgia: An Anthology of Broken Stuff’
Posted: by The Editor
Tempertwig haven’t been active for 15 years, but today the tasteful UK label Audio Antihero are releasing an 11-song collection of the South London group’s early material. The main members, Ben and Adam Parker, have played in Nosferatu D2 and The Superman Revenge Squad Band. However, the music of Tempertwig is damp, gloomy post-punk a la Arab Strap. However, the bleakness of the music doesn’t come at the expense of some truly chilling lyrical narratives and emotive vocal deliveries.
To shed more light on the album’s themes, we had Ben Parker do a track-by-track breakdown of the whole record , Fake Nostalgia: An Anthology of Broken Stuff. Check it out:
1. Bratpack Film Philosophy
We self-released this on a 7” single with our friends Air Formation on the other side. So it’s the only song to be available previously as a product you could pay money for. The lyrics are inspired by the Breakfast Club, awful small talk at parties and a Motown collection on record that I got from a charity shop at university that had “I’m still waiting” by Diana Ross on it. The harmonics on the chorus sounds quite nice to my ears now if I do say so myself.
2. Falling Apart
Suitably, this is the song that was most likely to fall apart live as the parts seem to be ever so slightly too fast for their own good. About people I’ve known that have been worryingly self-destructive at times and wallowed in this. In places there are some very specific and personal details but I won’t go into any more detail because they are about other people and also because I’ve always liked the idea of lyrics including content that only means something to the writer.
The last song we wrote and recorded, and I think in some ways the closest to what Adam and I would do with Nosferatu D2 afterwards. Self-recorded if I remember rightly, just before we called it a day. The guitar gradually became more sparse and the drums and bass filled the sound, which I liked, and the vocals more spoken word. Lyrics about the usual topics: dying and wanting to create art that people might remember. Probably inspired by Superbad by James Brown, because I listened to him quite a bit at the time and thought there was an amusing contrast between his music and ours.
4. Films Without Plotlines
I remember someone once describing us as being like a shambolic prog Radiohead or something, which didn’t make sense at the time. But I can sort of see what they meant listening to this song. I had been really into the first couple of Arab Strap singles, “the first big weekend”, and also bands like the Club Giants that we played with a few times that used spoken word bits nicely. And a band called Diary that Adam and I saw once and thought were incredible, but were truly awful on record and every other time we saw them – my memory of that first gig was quite an inspiration though; it was an older man doing spoken word over what felt like spontaneous kind of post-rock music, but it really worked somehow.
5. Comfort Blanket
Steve Lamacq played this on Radio 1, which was quite exciting. I then sent a tape of the song to one of the free magazines you got in guitar shops, saying that it had been played on Radio 1; they reviewed it and said it was crap. Recorded at a proper studio by Paul Tipler that had recorded Leatherface. Used to like the bits where the music stops and the lyrics carry on as it would get people’s attention a bit at gigs.
6. Kitchen Stereo
Recorded in Oxford I think. At the studio run by the people that ran the Truck festival.
7. Everything Can Be Derailed
Me trying to sing in a high voice a bit like J from Dinosaur Jr in places. I remember my Dad thought the lyrics were “everything can be neuralgia”, which sounds quite good actually.
We did a gig where a skinhead threw stuff at us, and I remember thinking that it was not nice but I felt quite alive. Also, I remember that gig far more than most of the others. A bit like when I had a TB injection at school, which I remember quite clearly whilst not remembering much else about those days.
9. This Means Everything, This Don’t Mean A Thing
Lyrics started life as a short story about someone coming home to a Dear John letter. Along the way it became about something else. I remember the storm of 1987, when there was no electricity and so it was suddenly dark rather than there being the streetlight directly outside my bedroom, and my friend at school explaining that he’d played his walkman to keep his mind off the darkness and sound of the storm. I’d like to create music that would help like this, songs that bring people together but it probably wasn’t in me. Other thoughts: Mogwai actually sounded a bit like U2. We ended our sets with this songs for years and years.
10. The Opener
We started loads of gigs with this song, which is why we eventually called it “the opener”. It’s about Croydon, I guess.
11. Heartfelt Letter To An Ex-Friend
About a best friend that I grew up with and then grew apart from and never saw anymore. Simple as that really.
Eli Enis | @eli_enis
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