It was never going to be easy to follow the world renowned, runaway success that was The Temper Traps debut album. Recorded with Arctic Monkeys producer Jim Abbiss, Conditions was an overnight sensation. Released in 2009 to an overwhelming public response, resulting in sold out shows across the country and a mass of accolades from ARIA Awards, to Brit nominations. Driven by the albums all pervading hit “Sweet Disposition”, Conditions sold nearly a million copies worldwide. So no pressure.
As guitarist Lorenzo Sillitto told NME “There’s a huge expectation from our label and fans to record another song as big as ‘Sweet Disposition’. It puts pressure on you to succeed.”
This self-titled album will be the bands first endeavor as a newly expanded five-piece outfit, following the permanent addition of Joseph Greer on keyboard/guitar, while Dougy Mandagi (vocals, guitar), Lorenzo Sillitto (guitar), Jonny Aherne (bass) and Toby Dundas (drums) remain from the original Melbourne collective.
It pains me to say this but for such a keenly awaited sophomore album, I expected more. The Temper Trap opens with “Need Your Love “ which was pre-released as the lead single and has been met with mixed reviews. For me, it wasn’t a strong start, with the debut song paling in comparison to their preceding catalog of epic-pop perfection. That being said, “Need your love” is still recognisable as a Temper Trap brainchild, with vast crescendos and swooping electronica it feels almost like the band is quietly easing fans into the change.
"The sea is calling” was a personal favorite, with a matured, measured sound demonstrating the lengths the boys have taken to distance themselves stylistically from their last album. Simple guitar flourishes and melancholic lyrics united by a resounding soaring chorus create a strong track, which could easily stand alone as a single.
Both “Hands” and “Where Do We Go From Here” are notable with their mid-tempo rock vibe reaching impressive scales and reminding fans of that phenomenal knack for melody which assisted songs like “Fader” and “Love Lost” achieve cult status. The bands relocation to London has undeniably swayed their new sound, with a Britpop influence echoing the likes of U2, pre Mylo Xyloto Coldplay, and English alternative rock band Keane.
Ultimately, fans of Conditions may find this album is not at all what they were expecting, but when approached with cautious optimism, it proves overall a rewarding listen, revealing how much the band has grown and ventured outside the falsetto vocal box their much loved debut album placed them.
Review Score: 7.8 out of 10