THE TEMPER TRAP
"The Temper Trap"
By Megan Buerger
Friday, October 12, 2012
These days, with the option to buy a single over an album, the threat of being a one-hit wonder is especially real. Consider the Temper Trap, which formed in Australia in 2005. The band became super famous, super fast, by licensing one stellar hit, “Sweet Disposition,” to movies, television shows and a Chrysler commercial that had everyone Shazaming.
That was in 2010. Now what?
Album two, that’s what. The band added keyboardist Joseph Greer, moved to London and set out to prove that it’s capable of more than one beloved song. But therein lies the problem with its eponymous second album, which feels like what it must have been -- a mission to prove people wrong. The group comes off a tad inflated and self-important, like Bono but without a message. On “London’s Burning,” a song about the 2011 riots, the lyrics feel affected and vacuous: “Now who’s the one to blame when the children always seem / Dancing on their broken dreams, while London’s burning from within.”
The highlights come when the band eases up on the gas. “Trembling Hands” has all the right stuff: a stadium-size chorus, vulnerable middle verses and a melody that shines a sophisticated light on Dougy Mandagi’s tender vocals. “Where Do We Go From Here,” which has the sunniness of Cut Copy and the funk of Hot Chip, rekindles the carefree spirit that made us fall in love with the Temper Trap. It’s also the question the band should ask itself.