TEMPER TRAP – Conditions (Infectious Music)

For a lot of people, their first introduction to The Temper Trap was hearing their ‘Sweet Disposition’ while watching alt. rom-com ‘(500) Days Of Summer’. For others, like me, it was reading the host of rave reviews that the band were getting for their live shows, but whichever way they heard then band, most people realised that here was a group worth investigating further. The debut album from this Australian four-piece capitalises on the buzz that was generated by ‘Sweet Disposition’ and delivers a collection of great indie rock songs. ‘Love Lost’ is the perfect opener, featuring Doug Mandagi’s falsetto vocals on the verses, alongside the churning rock backing of the chorus. ‘Rest’ follows this template, but adds in an anthemic U2 feel to the guitar-work, while ‘Sweet Disposition’ builds on the U2 comparisons by backing the verses with minimal guitar stabs over rolling drums and staccato bass, while the whole thing explodes into the chorus. ‘Soldier On’ slows the pace down for a breather after the relentless surge of the first four songs, and Mandagi’s voice takes on a completely different tone for this track, aided by the minimalist backing of gently plucked guitar and sparse bass, before the whole band kick in for a rousing finale. Third single ‘Fader’ is next, and it is certainly radio-friendly, if not really representative of the rest of the album, with its singalong chorus and thudding drums, but it is still better than most of the stuff in the charts, so I hope that it does well for the band. ‘Fools’ gets the album back on track, with another lovely tune around which Mandagi can wrap his effortless vocals, and which also features a soaring guitar solo – one of far too few on this record. ‘Resurrection’ starts slowly, and takes its time to build up to an explosive finale, with the drums and guitar really making their presence felt in the mid-section, and then the whole band joining in to bring the song to a thundering conclusion. ‘Science Of Fear’ is a great jerky pop/rock song, with something of a Bloc Party feel to the guitar and rhythms, and proof that the band definitely have more than one string to their bows. This is the sort of song that I would like to hear more of on their next album, and I hope that it is a direction that they will continue to explore. ‘Drum Song’ finishes the album with an instrumental on which the band just seem to be having fun, and it is a great way to finish things off. Having relocated to the UK in May, The Temper Trap are now poised to consolidate on the success of this debut, and with their live shows garnering as much admiration as this album then I hope to see much more of them in the future.
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