Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The wreckage just gets stirred up, on and on, over the nine songs that appear on the debut full-length from Australia's The Temper Trap. Love's constantly gripping and sometimes those hands are warm, more often they're lukewarm and sometimes they're as cold as the walls are. To be perfectly accurate, mostly we're hearing about one very piping, hot hand reaching tenderly and somewhat tentatively out to a cold or lukewarm hand of another, seeking to transfer the heat molecules in the pressing, the exchange. The band has trapped tension more than it's trapped tempers, as there's no flaring or hot buttons going off, but a lot of beautiful and romantic, sometimes anthemic pleading and begging for another person to justify a feeling, a love and a heart. There's much questioning of the correctness of the connections that are being attempted, that are being earned for, and ultimately, those moments of insecurity and cloudiness are the loves in and of themselves. If that's all there is for these poor lads, they'd deal with it and perhaps even count themselves as some of the lucky ones. It's the painfulness of these situations that are rightly or wrongly triggering their pleasure centers and that's just a particular taste, or a blush of a taste, making itself present and known. The members of Temper Trap, led by the soaring Bono/Barry Gibb vocals of singer Dougie Mandagi, circle around these thoughts of difficult love, losing their babies, losing their minds to a sensation that keeps getting to them no matter what they do, and they settle on the conclusion to just blow them up, to make them gigantic and paint them in neon, jack them up with propulsive grooves and sweeping melodies. What we're hearing in these songs on "Conditions," are young men getting foiled by the erratic nature of women and just as much, the indecision and erratic tendencies of themselves - these young men who might want it all before realizing that there might just be one specific person for them - and that's who these songs are written for, that specific someone who's seen all the sides and the waffling. We're confident in things working out in these songs because they are attributed the kind of knee-bending lushness that - if anything is going to do it - this very specific knee-bending lushness and spectacularly sexy tones will do it. Mandagi sings on "Sweet Disposition," about one of these thorny situations, "So stay there/Cause I'll be coming over/And while our blood's still young/It's so young, it runs/And it won't stop til it's over/Won't stop to surrender," and we're clearly dealing with some resiliency of the heart. It's as if allowing this young blood to because geriatric blood - old and worn out blood, minus ambition - prematurely would be the greatest failure imaginable. They are fighting this with their stubbornness and hearts that decide for them what's best and what can be walked away from. They have no problem going after all that they want and the results are starry skies and men bawling up at them, wide-eyes and damned near exasperated.