The Temper Trap

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The Temper Trap attracted their first batch of fans with "Sweet Disposition," a pop anthem framed by the influence of Jeff Buckley's falsetto and U2's guitar delay. A similar sound fuels the rest of Conditions, which takes additional cues from the sweeping, atmospheric strains of Coldplay and Bends-era Radiohead. The music itself is partially responsible for such comparisons, but the most obvious link between the Temper Trap and the bands they so avidly adore is singer Dougy Mandagi, an impassioned tenor who coos, croons, and courts melodrama with all the open-armed enthusiasm of a theater student. He's a fantastic singer and fairly capable songwriter -- two essential qualities for a frontman who takes cues from the giants of stadium pop/rock -- but he's also a middling lyricist, concerned with topics that are far smaller than the cathedrals and sweeping landscapes his music evokes. For all its fist-pumping beauty, "Sweet Disposition" seems to be about little more than a late-night makeout session ("Stay there, 'cause I'm coming over"), and "Rest" features few words other than "Oooh, baby," which lose their luster after several repetitions. Conditions runs out of juice during its second half, where the anthems of side A give way to minor-key ballads and rock songs that only pack a medium-sized punch. Album highlights like "Sweet Disposition," "Love Lost," and "Fader" are tell-tale signs of a band worthy of scaling the Joshua Tree, though, even if the Temper Trap have some growing up to do beforehand.

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