In my opinion, Australian-based band The Temper Trap is easily one of the most underappreciated bands in the modern music world. Their debut album Conditions was released in 2009, with songs reaching the tops of the charts…in other countries, that is. Unfortunately for us, the US did not really grasp the genius of this album in quite the same way.
I first remember hearing of The Temper Trap from an AT&T commercial a few years back. “Sweet Disposition” was the featured song in the background, and after a long, hard Google search, my world was changed. Many people at least recognize this song: it is easily their “hit,” if you could even call it that, it’s featured in a number of TV shows and also holds a spot on the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack. This gorgeous song allows for listeners to experience Dougy Mandagi’s voice, a very unique and impressively high-pitched sound.
The first track on the album, “Love Lost,” features a constant soft clapping throughout the verse before building up to the powerful, yet wispy chorus. When the song is about a third of the way done, there is a split second pause that leaves the listener wanting more, a feeling that is fulfilled within moments as the song picks right back up again. “Love Lost” is easily one of the best tracks on the album, and a very good attention getter by being the first song on the album.
The record has a number of instances where backing vocals play an extraordinarily crucial role. For example, in “Down River,” it provides an echo-y and almost round-style type sound, which is really what ends up making the song such a great one. However, there are other times where solo vocals are even more powerful than the instrumental background, such as in the track immediately following “Down River” titled “Soldier On.” Although Conditions is by no means an extraordinarily fast-paced album, “Soldier On” slows down the moderate pace, allowing for the listener to really appreciate Mandagi’s incredible voice.
“Resurrection,” the album’s longest track at a whopping 5:32, really captures the essence Conditions. It starts off with a slow, mellow beginning, but eventually escalates in frequency and seemingly urgency, with Mandagi’s voice and the instruments getting louder and more frantic as the song reaches its end. The inclusion of the different instruments and backup voices at all different pitches and levels really encompasses the variety of sounds you hear on the rest of the album.
This album was a really great start to a hopefully successful career for The Temper Trap. Hopefully they will build more of a following in the United States: this is definitely a band you’re going to want to keep your eyes and ears on.