Friday, 2 October 2009

The Temper Trap @ Brighton Audio

At the start of the year The Temper Trap were a slightly out of place proposition on many critics ones to watch lists, which were crammed full of bright, colourful and poppy female electronic acts. As a five piece male rock band they seemed almost out of fashion in the in fashion lists. But as the year has progressed The Temper Trap have been smouldering away, gradually turning up the heat to full ignition. Now Sweet Disposition is all over the radio, the cinema and in your ears. And now it’s the last night of the bands UK tour before the Australian five piece jet off to Japan. “Let’s make it worth our while,” smiles lead singer Dougy Mandagi. By the end of the set his wish has come true. The group manage to bring stadium highs to a low basement in Brighton.

The start is sluggish though. Dressed in a t-shirt which celebrates photographer Janette Beckman’s book Made In The UK - The Music Of Attitude 1977 -1983 Dougy stand motionless, eyes closed, his sneering falsetto coupling the spirit of Labi Siffre and Thome Yorke, but never embodying the intensity, beauty or sweetness of either of these vocalists. A passive audience stare on. But as the set develops, despite a few nasty bolts of feedback, Mandagi’s vocal grows and the bands sound loosens a little, the acoustic thumpery of Down River bringing a chest beating Local Natives meets Arcade Fire urgency to the room. Things continue to swell as the edgy mellow beauty of Sweet Disposition adds a tight U2esque feel to proceedings. The song really wouldn’t have been out of place on The Joshua Tree. The band could finish there, but to their credit even bigger and more powerful songs follow. Audience hands are soon raising to the heavens, or at least the low basement ceiling. By the end its clear that The Temper Trap have devised a set has been carefully structured to have maximum impact, their epic engineered indie rock sound having musical architecture with aspirations of the highest order. It was worth their while.

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