not a member? click here to sign up
The Temper Trap
Aussie band broaden horizons and let in a little Californian sunshine
Craig Fitzpatrick, 25 May 2012
For their second long-player, Australia’s Temper Trap decamped to LA. You’d know it – this is an LP that shimmers warmly throughout. It’s sweet and soothing, if occasionally verging on the saccharine. And, perversely, it’s also proof that you can have a too much of a good thing. Dougy Mandagi’s high-register vocals have long been hailed as the band’s trump card, and that acrobatic technique is employed throughout The Temper Trap. Coupled with the twinkling, reverb-drenched high-note guitars, by the end you’re suffering from falsetto-exhaustion and in serious need of some low rumble.
To start with the negatives: ‘Miracle’ is delicate and bruised but trying a little too hard perhaps to become a phones-aloft anthem. And it’s not alone. The overall aesthetic is Wild Beasts – but too often without the genius or idiosyncrasies. And in ‘London’s Burning’, which uses news coverage of last summer’s riots to doubtful effect and comes across like a Hard-Fi protest lacking a point, they hit a real low. Elsewhere, however, there is redemption. Aided by the addition of Joseph Greer on guitar and keys, they’ve broadened their sonic palette, bringing the synths to the fore. And buoyant synth pop suits them. ‘Where Do We Go From Here’ rubs shoulders with Future Islands and the real highlight is first single ‘Need Your Love’, a superb track which sounds like it sprang from the British pop charts of the ‘80s.