Outside of Australia, you could perhaps be forgiven for being unfamiliar with The Temper Trap, but here, the Melbourne band’s rise to fame has been meteoric, and for good reason. With a sound influenced by artists such as Radiohead, U2, and Muse, the Pop Rock group’s debut album Conditions was almost destined for success upon its release in 2009.
Lead singer Dougy Mandagi’s impressive, unmistakable vocals are undoubtedly the show stealer on the album, but it’s the dynamic instrumentation, choir-esque backing, and massive choruses that really bring it all together. From “Conditions” we got a plethora of catchy tunes; tracks like Fader, Fools, Love Lost, and of course the massively popular Sweet Disposition all showcase what the band does best. That’s not to say that these are the only noteworthy songs on the album though.
Whilst not as upbeat and poppy as the aforementioned songs, tracks such as Resurrection and Science of Fear allow The Temper Trap to show off their more experimental sounding, rock-oriented side, and it works brilliantly. It’s rare to find an album that is consistently good from start to finish, but on their debut LP, The Temper Trap have managed it across the 10 tracks.
Whilst it might be easy to dismiss “Conditions”, and The Temper Trap as a pop band, they’re so much more than that, in the same way that Coldplay are, or rather, were. On the surface, The Temper Trap have released catchy songs to sing along and dance to, but search a little deeper, listen more closely, and you hear what makes the Australian group so good.
The album isn’t without its flaws, but they’re minor in comparison to what makes this album as enjoyable as it is. Mandagi’s lyrics are middling at best for the most part, and pale in comparison to the grandiosity of the music behind the words. The vocals themselves carry so much weight, and emotion, and really make you feel something; but when you listen to Rest with its repetition of the line “Ooh, baby”, it can get a little old, pretty quickly. The Temper Trap are at heart a stadium rock band, who do it better than most, and if dancing in a sea of people, singing along to Fader with Dougy on stage doesn’t sound incredible, then I’m sorry, but there’s not much I can do for you.
– Kieran Griffiths