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Temper Trap, The - Conditions Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 8.25
Lyrics 7
Production 8
Creativity 7
Lasting Value 7.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.25
Final Verdict: 79%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.42
Musicianship 9.33
Lyrics 8.92
Production 9.33
Creativity 9.33
Lasting Value 9.75
Reviewer Tilt 9.33
Average: 93%
Inside AP.net

Temper Trap, The - Conditions

Reviewed by: Inaction (12/20/09)
The Temper Trap - Conditions
Record Label: Glassnote Records (US), Liberation (AUS), Infectious Records (UK)
Release Date: October 13, 2009 (US), June 19, 2009 (AUS), 10 August 2009 (UK)

You've probably heard The Temper Trap without even realising it. Showing up in (500) Days Of Summer, The Temper Trap are following a different path than most Australian-bred bands. With a strong support base on the home-front and both critical and commercial success, they are aiming for a bigger targets - America and the UK. It's not often an Australian band has been capable of that. Even less often are the band deserving. I'm looking at you Jet.

Let's get this out of the way now: The Temper Traps debut album Conditions doesn't present anything intrinsically new to the listener. It may tread familiar territory, but it does it well. Whether you like this record or not will depend entirely on how you feel about that. Wearing their influences on their sleeves, the band's strength undoubtedly lies with vocalist Dougy Mandagi. His voice is hard to explain; it has a strong emotive nature that belies his almost-falsetto style.

Their biggest and most notable track to date, "Sweet Disposition" has a soaring quality that perfectly summarises the band. Clocking in at just under four minutes, the track is the perfect introduction to the group. Radio-friendly without alienating an indie-inclined audience, the buzz that followed it's release isn't surprising. So it's unfortunate then that most of the remaining tracks on Conditions tend to follow a strikingly similar formula. They are prone to soft and understated starts before building up to a climactic end. It's occasionally distracting and feels at times like the band is playing it safer than they need to. They shouldn't be underselling themselves this early on in their career.

With that said, the album starts off on a high note. Along with "Sweet Disposition", "Rest" and "Down River" are expertly woven examples of what this band is capable of. The former is a subtle thundering track while the latter is a powerhouse, recalling a synth-heavy Arcade Fire. The first four tracks provide Conditions with a strong rhythm, which the band can't quite maintain as the record tends to drag once you reach the midsection. "Soldier On" is the closest to a ballad available. While it's pleasant enough it regrettably shows that the band works best when the tempo is up. This is only reinforced by the follower "Fader", the catchiest song here and a standout track. It's relatively straightforward in context and a slight departure showcasing the bands pop sensibilities.

The lack of consistency is Conditions' biggest flaw. "Fools" and "Resurrection" are the closest the record comes to filler tracks. Solid, if not unremarkable, the latter is the slightly stronger of the two. The album then hits its stride one last time with second single "Science of Fear". Yet in another misstep, it is followed by the aptly titled "Drum Song". The track, a drum-driven instrumental, doesn't serve any purpose. It's an unfortunate and superfluous way to close an otherwise reliable record.

There's a lot to be said about the dangers of hype. Conditions isn't quite a victim, but it's doesn't make it out unscathed. The fact this record was nominated for album of the year probably says more about the state of Australian music at the moment than about the quality of this album. That's not to say this isn't a great record, but the band isn't quite up to that level yet. If I sound overly negative, it's not intentional. It's only disappointing that the album isn't as good as it could be, or for that matter, should be. Instead, it's a solid debut. Ultimately, what Conditions does is set The Temper Trap up for an interesting and, quite possibly, long-lasting career and that's nothing to disregard.


Recommended If You LikeBloc Party, Editors, The Cinematics, The Killers


Find Them herehttp://www.myspace.com/thetempertrap
 
Displaying posts 1 - 9 of 9
10:05 PM on 01/04/10
#2
birtcho
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this album is amazing. deserves much in the 90's
12:17 AM on 01/05/10
#3
brenByah
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I definitely like this album more than you do, but the review was well written. I disagree on "Soldier On," as it's my favorite track on the album. I don't really feel like they tread familiar territory, I'm not going as far to say they're ground breaking, but I feel like they're certainly a breath of fresh air that conform to the usual pop rock mold.
12:36 PM on 01/06/10
#4
steveC
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good review. haven't heard the album yet but i love the single, so i'm now seriously considering buying it
06:35 AM on 01/07/10
#5
Deadbolt23
Jacob
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Soldier On and Resurrection are my favourite songs
10:30 PM on 01/08/10
#6
Sarcasm
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Good review, but I would give this somewhere in the 90s. Awesome album.
01:21 AM on 01/17/10
#7
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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nice review. i just finished writing mine for it, we have a lot of opinions in common for this record.

i'm having a tough time with the RIYL though. all i've got so far is U2 and the killers. anyone have any other thoughts?
02:48 AM on 08/24/10
#8
-karla
cake or death?
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just got this album on a whim.... obviously i heard 'sweet disposition' a few times. i can say i love this album as a whole... not many bands do that.

any references? U2, the killers, bloc party
10:12 PM on 03/01/11
#9
ryebread
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I definitely like this album more than you do, but the review was well written. I disagree on "Soldier On," as it's my favorite track on the album. I don't really feel like they tread familiar territory, I'm not going as far to say they're ground breaking, but I feel like they're certainly a breath of fresh air that conform to the usual pop rock mold.

I agree with you completely. Soldier On is a great song
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