Monday 21 May 2012

The Temper Trap - The Temper Trap

For all its beautifully reverberating guitars, does anyone actually know what Sweet Disposition is about?  It's a song that captured the summer of 2009 - something the full 'Conditions' album failed to do - and nobody seemed to mind that frontman Dougy Mandagi was singing gibberish.

Perhaps the band realised this when writing 'The Temper Trap', their second album.  This materialises in the frankly awful London's Burning, a song that attempts to explore the hard-hitting subject of the London riots of last summer in a similar manner to Plan B's iLL Manors.  Yet besides shoehorning in some choice quotations from both sides, the song does little to actually comment on the events and instead opts to simply repeat "London's burning", something the traditional round already does quite effectively.  And although they are based in the UK capital, it seems cheap for an Australian band to address such a British event.

Elsewhere, this is the band on autopilot.  Opener (and first single) Need Your Love begins in a blaze of synths.  At first this may seem odd for a guitar-based band, but as Coldplay can attest to, what better way of expanding your sound than throwing in some keyboards?  Whilst 'Conditions' managed to marry quiet intimacy with widescreen scope, 'The Temper Trap' fails to strike the same balance.  That's with the exception of The Sea Is Calling with its gentle, liquid guitars leading to a soaring chorus and the gradual crescendo of Rabbit Hole.  The band are clearly at their best with simple pop tunes, as with catchy single Need Your Love, rather than their feeble attempts at social comment that lack lyrical substance.

As 'Conditions' can attest to, one outstanding track does not make a great album.  'The Temper Trap' is little more than empty lyrics dressed in Coldplay/Keane/The Killers-esque indie rock that sadly cannot replicate the lightning in a bottle success of Sweet Disposition.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Need Your Love
* The Sea Is Calling
* Rabbit Hole

Listen: 'The Temper Trap' is available now.

Watch: The band are touring worldwide throughout the summer.