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Album Review
The Temper Trap

The Temper Trap
by The Temper Trap


Review Date
18th May 2012
Reviewed by
Matthew Cattin

When The Temper Trap first smashed their way to success with their debut Conditions, the young Australian band grabbed the world’s attention with an iron grip. Their cinematic sound erupted dynamics and captivated the imagination, planting their roots deep in the alternative music scene. Three years on, the initial buzz has disappeared and The Temper Trap is back with their self-titled sophomore and a chance to reignite the spark.

The opening synth of leading single ‘Need Your Love’ loudly declares a new direction for the band. The bright guitar that drove 2008’s Conditions, is by no means absent but it has been pushed to the back seat in favour of Kiwi Joseph Greer’s flexible work on keys. ‘Need Your Love’ is a refreshing pop blast that excels in its use of Toby Dundas’ staggered drum beat and vibrant chorus. Dougy Mandagi’s vocals have matured and strengthened since Conditions, but it’s retained its smooth versatility. He still shifts effortlessly to his flawless falsetto but he seemingly doesn’t rely on it as much.

’London’s Burning’ opens with a chav vox-pop and a beating bass, perhaps as a nod to Sublime’s April 29, 1992 (Miami). The lyrics tackle the tired theme of a crime-torn London as the metallic Cold War Kids-esque guitar clangs and sirens away. It’s a total change of pace to album opener ‘Need Your Love’ but the direction is interestingly layered and it builds to a busy climax.

The album devotes a few more tracks to mid tempo ballads than its lively predecessor which left me bracing for builds that never eventuated. ‘Miracle’ makes use of stereo sound with percussive clicking that weaves from ear to ear; a texture that keeps the song from losing momentum. ‘The Sea Is Calling’ is a slower song dedicated to the ocean, perhaps as a metaphor for a higher being. It’s a peaceful melody which is made by the guitar harmonies of Lorenzo Sillitto and Joseph Greer. The surf-rock inspired slide guitar in the first verse is, in its subtleties, the perfect addition to the theme without being overbearing.

Without as many standout, radio-ready tunes to let fly as Conditions, The Temper Trap is a bit more of a slow burner. A big fan of Conditions, I have to say the band hasn’t disappointed on the second outing. It’s not as instantly likable as I expected – the songs need a few listens to sink their claws. It’s not yet their magnum opus but it’s a far cry from being a dud. I just hope they didn’t peak too soon.


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