Review of The Temper Trap's album Conditions
Chances are you'll have heard The Temper Trap around. Their single, 'Sweet Disposition', has been given the hard sell over the last couple of months, including being featured on TV adverts and also on the soundtrack of indie rom-com '500 Days of Summer.' It's probably the band's finest three minutes, on an album which sometimes falls a little bit short of the mark.
Not to say that there isn't anything to praise on 'Conditions'. Singer Dougy Mandagi's falsetto vocals are otherworldly and, at times, captivating. The first four songs fare well and do convey a lovely ambitious sound of sweeping guitars and haunting delays. But although Temper Trap are supposed to be a head above the average Coldplay-tinged indie pop, 'Conditions' runs out of steam halfway, descending into U2 aping triteness.
One of the main problems is with this genre of music is that it's so recycled already it's hard to take even the most earnest and enthusiastic of efforts seriously. No one is disputing the virtuoso chord changes within 'Science of Fear' but the glossiness of it all effaces the sentiments beneath. Much of the second part of the album sounds like the band had too much time in the studio and not enough ideas, so simply threw everything in the mix and then produced the shit out of it. Songs such as 'Fools' and 'Resurrection' occasionally stumble upon something that makes the ears prick with excitement but as soon as you grasp what seems like a good moment, it's gone again. A couple of fine songs from The Temper Trap on 'Conditions' but unfortunately that's not enough to make it a fine album.