First Listen: Temper — Erase/Energy

While most of you probably haven’t heard of Temper, most of you probably have heard of the lead singer’s former group, the Grammy-nominated Spineshank.

The southern California band formed in 2003 as a side project for several of its members — former Spineshank frontman Jonny Santos, ex-The Family Dog drummer Matt Geiger and bassist Rob Galvin. Once these three left their respective bands the door was open to work in Temper full-time. (Rounding out the band is guitarist Jeremy Harper and sampler/keyboard-player Chris Garlinghouse.)

The band cites influences from Nirvana and Motley Crue to Foo Fighters and Audioslave, but how does its music measure up? Well, for a limited time two demos, “Erase” and “Energy,” have been made available on the band’s Web site: http://www.tempermusic.com/.

On “Erase,” a minute-long piano solo gives way to driving guitar riffs and a heavy drum beat before Santos joins in with an exclamatory scream. The song’s opening and subsequent verses are vocally similar to work Santos had done in Spineshank, only with more melodic crooning. The choruses feature the trademark forced not-quite screaming vocals but also some nice melody. Musically, the band seems pretty tight, rocking out smoothly together. A nice, industrial-tinged guitar solo three-quarters through the song gives way to a slow-paced bridge and leads to the tracks slow-burn closing.

But for everything “Erase” is, “Energy” is that much more. In short, this is a great song. The songs plays out like a cross between Chevelle and Oleander with a hint of Nirvana and clocks in at under two-and-a-half minutes. This track sounds more desperate, especially Santos’ singing of the line “Too far gone.” After mostly rock-tinged normal singing, half-way through the song to Santos’ trademark almost-scream pops up. And musically, “Erase” is a great “get-in, kick-ass, and get-out” track that almost feels too short — but at the same time is full of high-energy.