Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: (500) Days of Summer, album reviews, Conditions, Mika, Releases of the Week, sweet disposition, The Temper Trap, U2
PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD The Temper Trap’s “Soldier On” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 14/20 Watts
Whether you realize it or not, you have probably heard of The Temper Trap, considering how their hit single “Sweet Disposition” has been clogging up everything from TV jingles to the much-loved (500) Days of Summer soundtrack.
The Aussie quartet made their first appearance in 2006 with a self-tilted EP, only to vanish for the next 3 years. Fortunately this foursome seems to have gotten it together and released a legitimate follow-up, with debut album Conditions.
While it’s nothing revolutionary musically, Conditions is fun and extremely well put together. Though the acoustics sound a few notes too close to U2 and lead singer Dougy Mandagi’s voice is far too reminiscent of “pop sensation“ Mika, the album definitely has its merits.
Full of shimmery echoes, Conditions is light, serene and melodiously rich. Mandagi uses the simplest lyrics, relying primarily on instrumentals to keep the melody from getting monotonous. Despite familiarity, Mandagi’s vocals do have a unique quality to them. His voice is genuinely emotional and captivating. This is especially well exemplified on “Soldier On,” probably the most vocal song on the entire album. He hooks the notes you would never expect into a pleasantly surprising arrangement.
As far as the instrumentals go, they are nothing short of out of this world. But what else could you anticipate from a band that lists U2 as their prime inspiration? The guitar riffs are over the top, synth infusions are off the charts and the drums are just subtle enough to not overdo it.
While The Temper Trap take their inspiration from big names, Conditions is by no means a bland, boring knockoff. These guys have coined a signature sound that gives the album a natural flow without being overwhelming. The Temper Trap manage to aesthetically combine their influences into a successful, original sound. It’s appropriately listener-friendly and accomplishes exactly what it’s aiming for — a wide appeal that can be expected from both mainstream and indie audiences.
While they still have much to learn, The Temper Trap have definitely laid the groundwork for future success.
— Irina Dvalidze