The Temper Trap’s latest album, a collection of 12 songs, was just released on June 5th, 2012. The self-titled album, The Temper Trap, is the Australian indie rock band’s second studio album, and an interesting divergence from their first album, Collections. The Temper Trap was brought to our attention in 2009 with the release of the hit song “Sweet Disposition”, featured in the movie “500 Days of Summer”. The hit single gave them instant fame, partly due to lead singer Dougy Mandagi’s light and catchy falsetto, earning them an award for “Best Australian Single” in 2010 at the ARIA Music Awards. The question for B-Sides is, can The Temper Trap follow up their first album with something just as spectacular, or will this band become a one-hit-wonder?
The Temper Trap’s self-titled album seems to be an attempt at redefining the band’s sound, straying from their previous album’s more anthemic style and turning it into a more synthesized, radio-friendly rock. The first single, “Need Your Love”, combines squelchy synths with pounding drums as Dougy Mandagi sings about the disintegration of a relationship. Though the song has some obscure lyrical metaphors like “the silhouettes behind the dust clouds call me friend”, the almost joyful synths and drum beat avert one’s attention from the song’s meaning, turning it into a catchy number with the repetitive chorus “I need your love”. The second single, “Trembling Hands”, is one of the best songs on the album, spouting an emotional story about a love lost as he wails “I’m on my own. I’m on my own”. Because it lacks lyrical obscurity and the construction of the song is successful in engaging an emotional response from the listener, “Trembling Hands” may be the song that carries the album, though it’ll never live up to “Sweet Disposition”.
As a whole the album is definitely listenable, though it may lack some of the creative uniqueness of Collections. The only song that seems out of place is “London’s Burning”, a jarring song about the riots in London that has an edge to it not seen anywhere else on the album. Though The Temper Trap is much more commercial than Collections, this may have been the band’s attempt to become a mainstream radio-friendly indie rock, knowing that outdoing the epic single “Sweet Disposition” would be a difficult and near-impossible task. The conclusion: The Temper Trap is worth a listen; just don’t expect it to be anything like Collections.
Check out “Trembling Hands”: