When Australia's The Trouble with Templeton first appeared in 2011, it was as the recording project of then 20-year-old singer/songwriter Thomas Calder. He self-released Bleeders, a home-recorded mini-album of quiet introspective indie folk that was well-received in his native Brisbane. Two years, several tours, and an international record deal later, TTWT return as a highly rated quintet, releasing what is for all intents and purposes their debut album, Rookie. There is still much of the thoughtful, folk-flavored musings in Calder's new material, though the expanded lineup certainly tilts the band's sound further toward alt-rock with distinct echoes of Radiohead, Bright Eyes, and even bits of the Flaming Lips. Calder's warm, dusty voice frequently dips into upper registers as he emotes intensely on moody tracks like the skittering opener "Whimpering Child" and the heavy-weighted "Soldiers." There are bright, upbeat, jangle pop numbers like "Glue" and glitzy, big-budget mainstream indie rockers such as "Like a Kid." Many of the other tracks sail the generally safe waters of contemporary indie folk, like the hopeful "You Are New" and the navel-gazing "Lint." One could laud them for their diversity, but that's part of the problem with TTWT. Rookie is ably played, warmly produced, and decently written, but the band seems rather directionless, reaching out into various familiar styles without ever making too deep an impact in any of them. Calder has plenty of talent as a singer and a writer and has surrounded himself with a solid band, but there are plenty of other young acts of a similar ilk playing just this sort of generalized indie pop with far more vision and purpose.
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AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger