Wednesday, 16 May 2012

[Review] The Temper Trap

Some well deserved love for Australia's The Temper Trap from The Guardian
"This is criminality, pure and simple." Kicking off a Scottish gig with a track that samples David Cameron doesn't seem like a sure-fire recipe for winning local hearts and minds. But if The Temper Trap aren't yet alive to the nuances of devolved regional government – the Melbourne band only relocated to the UK three years ago – they know they've got a belter in London's Burning. Inspired by last year's riots, it's spooky and spiky yet also naggingly melodic.
Immediacy is a Temper Trap hallmark, and a particularly useful one when the band devote exactly half their set to new material from a looming second album. Singer Dougy Mandagi occasionally sounds sheepish introducing yet another unfamiliar song, but there is no trace of awkwardness in his performance. Possessed of a magnificent voice that can flit effortlessly into falsetto, he's also that rare indie frontman who seems genuinely at ease without a guitar, floppy fringe or other protective barrier between themselves and the audience.

When Mandagi sporadically straps on a Fender or bashes on a tom-tom, it's to further bolster a sound that creates common ground between early, unadorned Coldplay and the skittery electronica of Kid A-period Radiohead. The skyscraping Rabbit Hole is aggressively anthemic – perhaps a little too fierce, in fact – but they find a sweet spot with the tender, swaying Trembling Hands. There will be few choruses so enormous this year.

After enthusiastically welcoming so many new tracks, the audience gets a little antsy when the band amble off without playing Sweet Disposition, their long-tail single from 2009 that remained ubiquitous via TV montages and ads for another couple of years. It's a bluff, of course, and when the distinctive opening guitar arpeggio eventually emerges from a synthesiser smog, it's the spark for mini-riot in the crowd, albeit one characterised by goofy grinning rather than looting.

Rating: 4/5 © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds