The Temper Trap
Conditions


3.5
great

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
July 24th, 2009 | 688 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A legitimate contender for debut album of 2009, ‘Conditions’ displays The Temper Trap’s ability to combine their influences into an original sound that bridges the gap between credible indie & mainstream hooks.

With indie-rock booming in worldwide popularity and recognition over the past decade or so, it would be fair to state that Australia has been a little slow to jump on the bandwagon. While The Saints caused a stir in the 1970s, and the likes of The Go-Betweens and the (Nick Cave fronted) Birthday Party deservedly won loyal fans in the 1980s, artists such as Ben Lee, The Drones, Augie March and Eskimo Joe have not quite capitalized on the current ease of accessibility of worldwide music. Enter Australia’s next genuine contender: The Temper Trap.

With their 2006 debut EP, the Melbourne quartet immediately caught the attention of the Australian public and record labels. However, striking while the iron was hot did not seem high on the band’s agenda, as they floated away from the limelight and memory. That is, until September of 2008 when single ‘Sweet Disposition’ emerged to wow listeners with its sweet melodies, soaring vocals & atmospherically layered guitars that made it sound like a hybrid of U2 and TV on the Radio. As ‘Sweet Disposition’ gradually gained a larger following via greater airplay, the hype for an upcoming debut full-length release grew with each passing month. Nine months after the release of that lead single, ‘Conditions’ is finally unleashed upon us.

Thankfully, ‘Conditions’ does not disappoint. Right from the get-go with ‘Love Lost’, it demands the listener’s attention and displays its sonic intentions and scope. Beginning sparsely with an organ and hand-claps, the opener later showcases punchy drums and stadium-sized guitars that recall Editors. The latter trait and comparison should not surprise since producer Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Adele) worked on the debut album of both bands.

One thing that does not sound anything like Editors (or many other bands) is what makes The Temper Trap stand out from the crowd; Dougy Mandagi’s amazingly distinctive vocals. Born & raised in Indonesia, Mandagi has a strange falsetto-like yelp that can be easy to dislike on first listen. Yet, dig a little deeper and you will not only find genuine melody, but also an emotional characteristic that adds significant depth to most tracks. Comparing his voice to one particular singer is tough, but if one can recall Fine Young Cannibals’ Roland Gift, then you would be on the right track.

The band would themselves admit that they have borrowed a little from their heroes in crafting their own sound. Apart from the already mentioned U2, and Editors, influences such as Radiohead, Bloc Party and Coldplay will also be heard. However, indie fans should be excited over album highlight ‘Down River’, which gloriously combines Modest Mouse and Arcade Fire with a fluidity that belies their experience. This gem closes with a combination of horns, a rousing orchestral arrangement and finally a joyous sing-along. Another highlight is the Muse-like six minute ballad ‘Soldier On’, which unexpectedly breaks out into a raucous jam for its final third.

What could be the deciding factor for many regarding The Temper Trap is their poppy and anthemic leanings. There is no doubt that this band is here to leave their mark and they are going to do so on as many people as possible. For accessibility reasons, this is a positive. To the diehard indie fan however, it could be a shortcoming. Take, for example, the “wooh woohs” and straight-forward guitar solo on ‘Fader’, as well as the synth infusions and repetitiveness of catchy 2nd single ‘Science Of Fear’. In truth though, the genuine weaknesses are the ineffective ‘Fools’, overblown ‘Resurrection’ and short-changing instrumental closer ‘Drum Song’, which means ‘Conditions’ is indeed front loaded.

One should never expect a debut album to be perfect and ‘Conditions’ bears the results of a relatively young band still finding their feet. Yet, it is this same fact which also leads to some of the album’s highlights. The Temper Trap’s ability to combine their influences into an original sound - that bridges the gap between credible indie and mainstream hooks so expertly - displays their future potential at the very least. Impeccably produced, ‘Conditions’ is a legitimate contender for debut album of 2009.

Recommended Tracks: Down River, Sweet Disposition, Love Lost & Soldier On.



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user ratings (213)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was released in Australia last month and will get a worldwide release in a couple of weeks time.

I hope the review comes off well enough. It was a tough one to write and I was so close to awarding it a 4 (it really sucks that the front page doesn’t show half stars). I’m sure some Aussies will have problems with my intro paragraph, but so be it.

I really recommend that anyone into indie-rock/indie-pop give this a listen so you can form your own conclusions. It would not surprise me at all if you like it even more than I did!

Douglas
July 24th 2009


9110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Heard this on triple j today, not bad.

Digging: The Preatures - Blue Planet Eyes

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Heard what on Triple J today Dougie; The whole album or just one song?

Did you have an initial reaction as to who they can be compared to? I'm so confused that I placed 10 albums in the 'Recommended by Reviewer' section! Makes up for most who leave it blank.

Douglas
July 24th 2009


9110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Just one of their songs, no idea what it was called. I have no idea, it's a bit hard. Maybe Tame Impalla

Douglas
July 24th 2009


9110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

...and Yves Klein Blue

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

My guess is that it would have been 'Science of Fear' which is the current single, but you never know with JJJ as they can sometimes play random album tracks.

I tried to steer away from comparisons to other (little-known) Aussie bands so as to help out our northern hemisphere readers (who I hope will give this a listen). I'll pay Yves Klein Blue though.

I'm sure DavID VanHalen will come along and name a dozen or so.

Douglas
July 24th 2009


9110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yes, Triple J do that, which is some times annoying me. And featuring Alexisonfire this week is annoying me to since I keep hearing 'Born and Raised' which I can't stand!

To true, that would confuse the hell out of them and I'm sure he will.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

To be honest, I haven't heard a single milli-second of any song from Alexisonfire's new album. I find it very easy to avoid radio.

By the way, off-topic, are you on Sputnik 24/7 nowadays? :-)

Douglas
July 24th 2009


9110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Haha, well the last week I have been bed ridden with the flu, so there isnt much else to do. I really should've though about going home and picking up my wetsuit before going for a surf. Stupid cold water.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Mate, in this weather, I can't believe you even consider going into the ocean. You are such a crazy SWINE.

Douglas
July 24th 2009


9110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Haha just FLS, not SWINE at all. Even though they reported that 99.9% of flu/colds are Swine related. Haha, I had to, Spout Creek was at its best for ages.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's been a while since I've headed towards Lorne & i must do so again... IN THE SUMMER!

Jim
July 24th 2009


5110 Comments


awesome review davey. i've honestly never heard of these guys =/ probably because i'm not a triple j trendy

and your opening paragraph was spot on man. no aussie bands in recent times have really cracked it on the international stage, so you shouldn't fear a backlash from sour compatriots

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
July 24th 2009


3768 Comments


The band is decent, but not worth the crazy hype they're getting around here. Fun tunes tho.

You gonna review Yves Klen Blue?

lobby
July 24th 2009


1251 Comments


This has been getting a bit of Australian airplay. But based on your recommended albums, plus the fact that their songs are overrated, prob won't get.

MassiveAttack
July 24th 2009


2688 Comments


whoa how did I miss a Davey review, my bad. =)

Douchebag
July 24th 2009


3624 Comments


Good review. Haven't heard of these guys tho.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Jim. Thanks Croc. I can't believe that neither of you have heard of these guys. They're from your home state & have been given a fair bit of hype and a fair bit of airplay on both radio & also Channel V. They got the support slot on Franz Ferdinand's tour earlier this year also.

Thanks for the agreement on the opening paragraph Jim. Actually, I have seen some comparisons to INXS for these guys as well. Maybe they were the last big Oz act to succeed overseas (of course I'm talking about the Michael Hutchence version, not the reality tv series version).

Fair conclusion Alex. In a sense, I really wanted to like them even more than the 3.5 rating I gave the album. But I had to call it the way I saw it (or should that be heard it?). As for Yves Klein Blue, I though Atavanhalen had already reviewed that. Although I may be getting them mixed up with Van She. Either way, I don't have any plans to review it in the short term, mainly because I have yet to hear the LP.

Lobby, don't necessarily go by my recommended albums. There is a reason I listed 10 of them. I was a little confused.

Your bad indeed Marko. I'm sure you can make it up to me some time in the future though.

Douglas
July 24th 2009


9110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Ah Davey, your missing the best time of year along the surfcoast.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Ah Davey, your missing the best time of year along the surfcoast."

I'm sorry, but I don't enjoy shrinkage and/or freezing my tits off.




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