Exposed to The Temper Trap when I heard their track, “Sweet Disposition,” on the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack, I’ve been intrigued as to what more of their music sounds like since then. I finally picked up their album, Conditions, last weekend and I haven’t been able to stop hitting play on my iPod or contain it from pouring out of the speakers of my laptop.
The Temper Trap is one of those bands that are simply infectious. They make the kind of music you can listen to while running out your frustrations on the treadmill or at a chic party where everyone is a part of the counter culture and the drink of the night is whisky and coke. The lyrics are moving, the beat is driving and to stand still is, well, impossible.
From Melbourne, Australia, Temper Trap conveys a sentiment of distinctiveness; as if you wouldn’t be able to find their rhythms and vocals on any other album. The band is signed worldwide with Infectious Records except for Australia and the United States, where they are signed by Michael Gudiniski and Liberation Music. Rather new in the music scene, the hype started with a sell-out show in London in 2008 and at South by Southwest in 2009.
As their debut album, Conditions has seen a lot of success. In their relatively quick stardom, they’ve been chosen as the top 15 Sound of 2009 by BBC, had a song in the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack and trailer, a spot in the TV show Greek finale, and their first headlining tour in the UK, The Temper Trap seems to be only in the beginning stages of their career.
I think their success should be largely attributed to their honest lyrics that drive above the contagious drum beats. The band's words are relatable and fresh. The lead singer’s voice, Dougy Mandagi, has a raw edge that reflects the band’s lyrics unlike any instrument could achieve. Mandagi’s voice makes you feel like he’s spilling his soul to you.
In The Temper Trap’s track, “Fader,” a feel-good sensation always seems to overcome me. The opening line “I pledge myself allegiance to a better nights sleep,” always makes me think I’m taking the pledge with them as a sleep-deprived college student.
Another one of my favorites is their opening track “Love Lost.” To me, it’s a fresh spin on every band’s required and often times sappy love song. With the line “Our love was lost, but now we found it and if you flash your heart, I won’t deny it…I promise,” love doesn’t seem too cheesy.
The line is sincere but believable with his reference to “flash your heart” because flashing someone something is usually more sexual than affectionate. The lost but found love contrasts perfectly with the small innuendo. Then, when they wrap it up with “I promise,” suddenly it doesn’t even matter what he promised, it’s that he said it.
While most listeners wouldn’t care to dissect Mandagi’s lyrics, I can’t help but to be caught up in their perfectly tender but truthful words from a bunch of guys that can spill their hearts while keeping their man-hood.
Whether we’re talking about their driving beats and elevating rhythms, Temper Trap’s album, Conditions, is a must have for anyone who’s a fan of bands from The Strokes to TV on the Radio.