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Vacuous Debut from Hotly Tipped Australians.
Ed Power, 05 Aug 2009
The U2 comparisons have been flying thick and fast for Melbourne’s The Temper Trap, though it’s probably more accurate to describe their sound as a credulity-straining mash-up between Antony and The Johnsons, Glasvegas and Coldplay. On opener ‘Love Lost’ frontman Dougy Mandagi gives it the full star-crossed eunuch, warbling in a little-boy-lost falsetto while chiming guitars sparkle stridently in the background. Alas, the formula doesn’t quite gel over the rest of the record: there’s no lack of gorgeous atmospherics but would be anthems such as ‘Science Of Fear’ and ‘Soldier’ come unstuck in a morass of gooey orchestration and vapid melodies. Granted, single ‘Sweet Disposition’ has a lovely Jeff Buckley aura – however, it isn’t so much homage as a cheeky appropriation of Buckley’s fallen choirboy persona (plus, the guitars could have been lifted straight from ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’). Elsewhere, ‘Down River’ proceeds with a folksy lilt and offers a discreet nod to The Go-Betweens and Triffids – the alpha and omega of love-lorn Australian rockers – and a clattering ‘Drum Song’ is a scattershot of indie disco influences, with less-than-subtle winks towards Interpol, The Cure and and Sisters Of Mercy. It took Coldplay eight years to record an album as listless as Viva La Vida. Temper Trap have gotten there in six months.
KEY TRACK: 'Sweet Disposition'