Everyone loves John Hughes movies, right? If you don’t then it can safely be said that there is something wrong with you. Anyway, the point is that the music of The Temper Trap is the soundtrack that should have been to every ‘80s teen comedy/drama John Hughes film. It’s quite a challenge to listen to cuts off of their new self-titled album like "Need Your Love" and "Where Do We Go From Here" and not be put in mind of The Breakfast Club or Sixteen Candles. Perhaps someone needs to make a new John Hughes documentary and realize that the soundtrack work is already done for them.
Okay, enough about Mr. Hughes and on to the task at hand, discussing this wonderful musical accomplishment. Here’s the thing that makes The Temper Trap work: they take elements of indie rock (the totally inaccessible kind that hipsters from Portland, Oregon like – QRO live review in Portland) and they make it catchy and appealing. Some might consider that selling out, but at what point is that line of reasoning going to be abandoned for a simple thankfulness for good music? I guess we can’t ever have our cake and eat it too. And what good album can you think of that wasn’t bred out of some form of conflict?
From the first second of the album’s opening song "Need Your Love", it’s easy to see that The Temper Trap have completely and totally upped the ante on this album. Their first album, 2009’s Conditions (QRO review), was great, and to steal a possibly too grand comparison once heard, this album is to Conditions what Lord of the Rings was to The Hobbit.
These guys were pretty vocal early on in press releases regarding the sound of The Temper Trap. Everything they claimed is definitely fulfilled in that they are resurrecting all that was great about ‘80s music. This album is a huge step forward in the right direction in terms of ways they could have followed Conditions. In true ‘80s fashion, the guitar takes a complete backseat to the synthesizer this time around. There is also a more noticeable definition of lead singer Dougy Mandagi’s vocals. On Conditions, he relied on falsetto vocals more on songs like their hugely popular "Sweet Disposition", "Rest", "Soldier On", and "Fools" and that vocal style is not as apparent on this album.
Other highlight songs from the new album are "Trembling Hands", with its positive feel and soaring chorus, and "Where Do We Go From Here" for its deep synth and driving beat.
This album is a total success for The Temper Trap. It’s easy to weed out the truly great albums because they are the ones that get better with each listen, and when you’ve listened to one of them enough times through you find that it has magically placed itself in the list of some of your favorite albums of all time. The Temper Trap has the potential to be one of those albums. Be sure to keep your eyes on it as it’s a safe bet to appear on many ‘Best of 2012’ lists. There have already been many great albums this year and this is one of them.
MP3 Stream: "Trembling Hands’"