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The Temper Trap – The Temper Trap – review

The Temper Trap’s first album, Conditions released in 2009, was one of those albums that jumped out at me and held on.  It’s a fantastic debut of jangly Australian alt/pop, ala The Church.  All you have to do is make comparisons to the godfathers of Australian alt/pop and I’m on board.  The first single from that album, Sweet Disposition, was all over the airwaves and pretty much every commercial you could imagine in the summer of 2010.  The song and album set the bar pretty high for their self-titled sophomore album.

The first single and song on the album, Need Your Love, spells out the entire album.  It is a song that hints and attempts to capture everything that made their debut great, but comes off as a little too much in every way.  Overproduced, mainstream pop, and unfortunately the rest of the album follows suit.  Time and again this is the crutch that many sophomore albums must lean on.  The record label wants more, the band wants more, and both stretch to far in order to get it.  It becomes the greed that is the music making machine, and unfortunately the music suffers.  This Isn’t Happiness, and Where Do We Go From Here?, are prime examples of this.  Two songs that I wanted to skip 5 seconds in.

That doesn’t mean the album isn’t without some gems.  Miracle and The Sea Is Calling, along with I’m Gonna Wait are the songs that are more in line with what I believe The Temper Trap are trying to do, and that is attempt to create music within their own pocket, while still moving forward.  Too many songs on the album sound like they are trying to be the Coldplay of down under, especially the second single Trembling Hands, whose delayed appreggiated guitars sound like they were directly plucked from the Coldplay soundbank.

Maybe my hopes for the album were set a little too high, but I still feel as a whole the album feels like a little bit of a let down, but it is still worth the listen.  It’s not a bad album, but it is a step backwards for a band that should be moving forward.

Grade: C+