Review Summary: Disappointing and only passable 2nd album that I would advise non-fans to stay away from.
Second albums can often be the most difficult for any musicians as they attempt to find their feet and look forward to what can possibly make them successful following a debut which was impressive enough to obviously warrant another release. Often, second albums become a little experimental in a trial and error kind of way, resulting in a combination of good and bad that is ultimately considered a disappointing effort. And so we have The Cooper Temple Clause's 2nd offering, the cumbersomely titled 'Kick Up The Fire & Let The Flames Break Loose'.
Following on from their impressive debut 'See This Through and Leave', it is clear that the band have attempted to keep what make them unique and add something that may find them an extra audience. In this case though, what occurs more often than not is both ends of the extreme being taken a little too far and not coming together as a grouping of tracks too successfully.
As with their debut, the opener is a decent gauge for a listener's liking to this album. With the 5 minute 'The Same Mistakes', you get the feeling of what the band are trying to accomplish as a whole as it contains similar atmospherics, instrumentation and interesting structure as their debut album, but just adds that extra bit of melody. It's pretty good, but doesn't quite work as well in reality as it sounds on paper.
The following 2 tracks continue on with what appears to be an obvious pattern and are both pleasing. 2nd single 'Promises Promises' flirts with mainstream accessibility and is an up-tempo rocker with effectively raspy (& sometimes laconic) vocals. While the following 'New Toys' is a nice balance of interesting song structure and instrumentation that probably best sums up the bands style better than any other track on the album. I just wish it was more memorable than it is though.
Totally ruining the momentum though is 2 successive 6 minute tracks that are poorly placed. 'Talking To A Brick Wall' & 'Into My Arms' are nothing more than average album tracks, with the latter turning from a drowsy ballad into an unnecessary industrial instrumental. The ledger is more than squared with the following 2 tracks ('Blind Pilots' & 'A.I.M') though, with both being effective in their own ways. The former is especially impressive mainly due to very good vocals and a rather uncharacteristically catchy chorus.
It is then up to the final 3 tracks to determine the level of this album's success and unfortunately the news is not good. The 6 minute 'Music Box' simply reworks 'Into My Arms'. 'In Your Prime' is a 2 minute interlude which is practically a waste of time. While the slow-burning 10 minute closer 'Written Apology' begins as a jazzy piano ballad, before turning into a standard rock song and then ending with 5 minutes of electronic music for no reason other than excess!
A disappointing follow-up effort, The Cooper Temple Clause failed to find their niche with this album which is simply passable due to 4 fairly good tracks, 2 half-decent ones & 4 pretty ordinary time-wasters. Fans of the band's style may feel the term "time-wasters" is inappropriate, but I otherwise would recommend non-fans to stay away from this album and check out their debut instead.
Recommended Tracks: Promises Promises, Blind Pilots & New Toys.