Whichever angle it’s viewed from, whether a 20,000-strong sing-along throng in Melbourne, through the smoggy haze of West Hollywood or from the window of Dougy Mandagi’s flat overlooking the riot zone in Hackney, The Temper Trap’s 2009 debut ‘Conditions’ was a roaraway success. Propelled by the omniscience of a song called ‘Sweet Disposition’, the album sold nearly a million copies worldwide and you can see the band when they play the Princess Pavilion, Falmouth on Wednesday 9 May.
The Melbourne four-piece made a breakthrough at odds with the flash-in-the-pan nature of rock’s revolving door, resulting in a Brit nomination for International Breakthrough Artist and two sell-out UK tours including a trio of shows at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire. ‘Sweet Disposition’ may have been their not-so-secret weapon, but they backed it up with an album of nuanced epic-pop perfection and a work ethic that would mean they wouldn’t see their own beds for the best part of three years.
Dougy Mandagi (vocals, guitar), Lorenzo Sillitto (guitar), Jonny Aherne (bass) and Toby Dundas (drums) had barely relocated from Melbourne to London when they made a tourbus their home-from-home. They’d arrived in 2009 as a band wet behind the ears but armed with songs fit to headline festivals and an ambition that was keen on getting them there. Having recorded ‘Conditions’ with Arctic Monkeys producer Jim Abbiss, their debut was released in August 2009 and what followed was an extensive period of intensive, relentless touring that only ended at the beginning of 2011. If they’d pitched up in the English capital as relative novices, come the end of the year, they’d most definitely found their feet.
And so, it was in these triumphant circumstances that The Temper Trap, now bolstered to a five-piece with the permanent addition of Joseph Greer on keyboards, reconvened after a shorter-than-expected holiday to begin work on their second album. Situated in their adopted home of Hackney, the band approached the writing sessions much as they did their debut, “sitting there and nutting things out,” as Sillitto puts it.
Whilst the majority of these songs ingrain themselves upon you with repeated listens, there is one that will stand out from the off. ‘London’s Burning’ was written in the aftermath of last summer’s riots as Mandagi struggled to deal with what he’d watched unfold outside his flat on Mare Street. “It was bizarre,” he says, “but it was such a significant moment than I just had to write about it.” Again, their playful contrariness comes into focus – it’s subject matter might be dark and devious, but London’s Burning’s sounds like The Clash soundtracking a glam rock musical.
‘The Temper Trap’ is an intriguing listen. It’s a snapshot of a band blossoming, their songs matching their own skyscraping expectations. “I’m an ambitious person,” says Dougy. “I want this album to be bigger, and I want the record to do well, I don’t want just one or two songs to do well, I want people to realise we’re capable of making records.” Rest assured, the penny is about to drop and you can withness their majesty in the flesh at the Princess Pavilion on Wednesday 9 May.
Support on the night to be announced.
Tickets are available from www.seetickets.com 0844 9959654 or Falmouth from Princess Pavilion box office 01326 211222