Review Summary: On their 3rd album, little known British band aim for the mainstream with corny pop-rock, annoy longtime fans and end up disbanding.
It is not the first time you will hear it and it will not be the last either, but sometimes a musical group will make such a change of direction with an album that it alienates the majority of their niche fan-base, while at the same time failing to attract enough new supporters. This will occasionally cause internal bickering and who knows what else, resulting in the disbanding of said musical group. And so we have The Cooper Temple Clause's 3rd and final album 'Make This Your Own'.
Following on from their very good debut in 2002, this band emerged with their disappointing follow-up later the next year. Possibly thinking they pulled the trigger a little too soon with their 2nd effort, The Cooper Temple Clause took well over 3 years to emerge with their 3rd album. And when they did, I could imagine that long suffering fans were very much taken aback. There is a clear attempt at mainstream success with this effort due to a much lighter and poppier feel. That is not necessarily a bad thing in isolation, but it is certainly a surprise.
There is no mucking around here as we begin with the first 2 singles right off the bat. 'Damage' is catchy as, yet still has good guitars and drums while keeping an upbeat tempo. In a hint of things to come, keys are nicely used too. 'Homo Sapiens' is a strange tune that the band does well to pull off. It has menacing undertones and a rapid-fire pace, but there is an accessibility about it which is impressive. The success continues with 3rd track and 4th single 'Head', which has excellent atmospherics and extra hints of synths thrown into the mix. Despite some repetition, the vocals are especially memorable.
So far, so very much good, but then it all goes a little pear-shaped to some extent. Track 4 'Connect' may well be the breaking point for established fans. Dare I say it, but it is rather 1980's Duran Duran like with it's use of synths and vocal deliveries. 3rd single 'Waiting Game' thankfully tones it all down to acceptable levels with simply structured mid-tempo catchiness.
The 2nd half of the album really starts going awry into one hell of an uncomfortable mish-mash. 'Once More With Feeling' is a spacey instrumental track that includes strange vocals. It takes us back to some of the less convincing work on the band's earlier albums. But the following 'What Have You Gone & Done?' brings us back to the present with it's poppiness that is bordering on corny (& ultimately is a candidate for a guilty pleasure). 'Take Comfort' then throws you for another loop in being a slower melodic, but corny, ballad. At this stage, it's difficult to find your footing as a listener and the final 3 tracks seem to float on by despite hinting at being filler due to a sudden rise in running time. At least the closer didn't hit the double figures mark in duration, as occurred on their earlier albums!
This album can probably best be described as a little bit of a guilty pleasure in parts, but it's hard to rate it highly as a whole. In isolation, it's a decent enough pop-rock album I suppose, although the lines of corniness are crossed on more than one occasion. Considering the band's past, that is a no-no and I am therefore not surprised it resulted in them disbanding.
Recommended Tracks: Damage, Head & Homo Sapiens.