The Temper Trap – “The Temper Trap”

by marcopantella

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It is called SAS (Second Album Syndrome), almost everyone is affected by it and Australian indie rock band The Temper Trap is no exception. They come back releasing the self-title follow up of their successful 2009 debut album “Conditions” and the result is captivating and full of made-for-festivals tracks. Nevertheless the overall project does not strike as high as vocalist Dougy Mandagi’s falsetto.

The quintet from Down Under were under a creative pressure to show that they were not a one hit wonder after the single “Sweet Disposition” that topped the charts in several countries and became their magnet to collect awards, headline tour, and had a mainstream diffusion through TV commercials.

Opener and leading single, “Need Your Love”, immediately displays The Temper Trap’s choice to take on electronic music. They didn’t make secret of being inspired by the likes of Massive Attack and Radiohead but unfortunately they are not close enough for a comparison as their attempt sound irrelevant most of the times.

The relatable love-and-rejection notion is the prevailing subject of the lyrics but only the second single, “Trembling Hands”, with a meticulous keyboard arrangement, goes deeper than that and opens the way to the best and most emotional part of “The Temper Trap”. The falsetto, that somehow works better on Chris Martin, takes you through the enchanting “Miracle” and despite nothing is innovative here, the right amount of romanticism and 80′s haunting synths that inspired the record is combined.

Becoming predictable and feeling uninspired even when catchy loops kick in, like in “I’m gonna wait”, “Dreams” is the last remarkable moment before the closing track, “Leaving Heartbreak Hotel”, where everything comes to an end on the line  “catch you in my sleep” and with all the elements that make this record homogeneous: falsetto, piano, and a bit of electro.

A different dosage of the three would have resulted in a much more impressive record and even though it is an enjoyable listening and proves that their potential is untouched, it does not tune in the same frequency of  “Conditions”. I’m sure the heat will be on again for their next release, the third, as it usually is the turning point for every musician. Let’s hope they won’t fall into the “trap”.

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