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Tenement and Temple - Tenement and Temple

  by Steve Kinrade

published: 22 / 10 / 2019

Tenement and Temple - Tenement and Temple
Label: Thrum
Format: CD


Evocative debut album from Tenement and Temple, the new band of Thrum's Monica Queen and Johnny Smillie

Are we on the cusp of a new age of interesting album cover art? I say this as I have recently reviewed a number of musical treats with extremely fascinating covers. For example 'Sympathies' by the mighty Brick House boasts a cover which manages to be both brilliant and absurd at the same time, as in some sort of quantum entanglement. The cover of the new Tenement and Temple album is an absolute delight: Johnny Smillie and Monica Queen stare out, all on point and alert, attired like bohemian private investigators at Henley Regatta. They look pristine, and believe me they deliver a collection of songs with equally crisp precision. But it’s what you would expect from a pairing with such musical pedigree. Monica Queen has accompanied the likes of the Jayhawks, Grant Lee Buffalo and Belle and Sebastian down many a musical path; Johnny Smilie is now a sought after producer and engineer. They were both band mates in Thrum an early 1990s combo signed to Fire Records. And Thrum this is not. The opening track 'Loving Arms' eases you into this collection, showcasing angelic and whispy vocals and hints of the great Liz Frazer, accompanied by some great and relaxed guitar playing. '10 More Years' has a 60’s musical soundtrack theme vibe going on, and I could imagine the great Dusty belting it out, and that’s not saying that Queen doesn’t get the emotion spot on. She does. The subtlety of the production can be seen on the delightful 'Ripa'. Again the finger-picking, castanets/ wood block and backing vocals sweep you away into the world Monica Queen is effortlessly creating. Beauty concertinas into beauty, evoking sublime moments of folk, country and gospel. Queen’s voice effortlessly evokes the spiritual. The closing track - 'Blue Moon' - only confirms the musicianship on display here. Check the album out on Spotify, and then, when you fall in love with it as you surely will, buy the cd (which looks like a small vinyl record) and support this project. Because they are definitely worth it.

Track Listing:-
1 Loving Arms
2 I Know
3 10 More Years
4 Your sweet Face
5 Ripa
6 I Only See You In the Dark
7 It's Been a While Lord
8 One Room House
9 Where the Wild Roses Grow
10 Blue Moon

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