Cooper Temple Clause : Manchester Hop & Grape

They specialise in edge of the ledge...

Two hours before stepping on stage [a]Cooper Temple Clause[/a] find out that their double A-side ‘Been Training Dogs’/’Film Maker’ has gatecrashed the Top 20. Sandwiched between Dirt Devils (Number 21) and Allstars (Number 19) for one week, the [a]Cooper Temple Clause[/a] can be found somewhere between the Pic ‘n’ Mix and school uniforms in Woolworths up and down the country.

On stage, Ben Gaultrey has the look of a man who’s head is completely fucked. “It’s been a weird day for us,” he concedes. Today was weird? Yesterday they tore up ‘CD:UK’ and divided a nation’s breakfast tables. Next week they’ve got a poster in teenie magazine Sugar – what’s going on?

The [a]Cooper Temple Clause[/a] may tentatively be going overground – yet on stage they remain as uncompromising as ever, a sea of instruments and pugilistic power.

Tonight, they set out their stall with ‘Did You Miss Me?’ – the glimmering and twinkling album opener that eventually morphs into a spiralling, bile-fuelled rant. They sear through ‘Who Needs Enemies’ and ‘Devil Walks In The Sand’ with an intensity that most English indie rock groups can’t even get near.

Later, the ridiculously coiffured boys jostle and bruise their way through the sleazy 8mm of ‘Film Maker’ and album standout, ‘The Lake’. ‘Panzer Attack’ and ‘Digital Observations’ feel like whippings from the LAPD, while ‘Been Training Dogs’ is jackhammer [a]Radiohead[/a].

Penultimate track, ‘Lets Kill Music’ ties all the loose ends (Ben Gautrey ‘s engrossing squall, the Squarepusher beeps and blips) into one huge unfathomable knot. That should be the end but they play one more. Because the [a]Cooper Temple Clause[/a] don’t know when to stop. They specialise in edge of the ledge – that’s what makes them [a]Cooper Temple Clause[/a].

That’s why the readers of NME – and the readers of Sugar alike – will be seeing a lot more of them in 2002.

Imran Ahmed