CD Infectious Records, INFECT102CD, 2009 10 Track
Australian four-piece Temper Trap cooked up the bulk of this debut in their native Melbourne, before hotfooting it to East London and establishing a base from which to add some spit and polish, and launch their bid for UK domination. Four months later and Conditions arrives, with the help of Infectious and popular producer Jim Abbiss - apparently talked into the project by his enthusiastic, and rather persistent wife.
Having found their way precociously into this year's popularity polls, the band have already drawn comparisons with all and sundry. But rather than hinting at weakness, the eclectic range of cultural touchstones on offer here suggest an uninhibited approach to songwriting.
Dougy Mandagi's falsetto vocal provides the axis around which the rest of the band revolves, displayed both in the often unintelligible Love Lost through to the likes of sing-along synth pop Fader.
The Temper Trap definitely like a good climax. Many of the tracks here finish unforeseeably imposing, whether building slowly as with the plaintive Rest, or thrusting magnificently for broke like the laden strains of Soldier On.
Frustration and anticipation ooze from Resurrection, both musically tense and vocally exquisite. Drum Song sees out the album with an instrumental farewell which, while obviously revolving around the stick-wielding skills of Toby Dundas, also gives guitarist Lorenzo Sillitto a platform on which to prove his own riffing dexterity.
Single Science Of Fear is, by far, the most immediate track on the album; its insistent refrain: ''brakes on, brakes on'', lodging itself firmly in the psyche and refusing to budge.
Sillitto sums up the Trap as a ''soul jazz exploration'', which may or may not have been a fey stab at a repeatable soundbite. A less marketable, but equally accurate description is blooming enjoyable pop music. --Keira Burgess
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