Caught in the Temper Trap

If you have ever watched ‘Neighbours’ or ‘Home and Away’, you have probably heard a Temper Trap song. If you have ever bought a Chrysler, Peugeot or a Toyota Yaris, you have probably heard a Temper Trap song. And if the face of L’Oreal, Claudia Schiffer, looks better than ever, it might be because of a Temper Trap song.

Reading between the lines, this Australian band appear to be massive sellouts – or massively successful. The indie five-piece, originally from Melbourne, established themselves in 2005 and have since released two albums. Their debut, Conditions, which was recorded with Arctic Monkeys producer Jim Abbiss, went platinum in Australia and gold in the UK in 2009. ‘Sweet Disposition’, the stand-out single, found its way into a bunch of popular television shows and films.

Off the back of their first album’s success, the band spent three years in hotel rooms, playing to some huge crowds on the festival circuit. At Splendour in the Grass, a music festival held on the east coast of Australia, they played in front of 20,000 people – and that’s an intimate audience compared with the 100,000-strong stadium crowd they will meet at the Australian Rules Football Grand Final at the end of the month. The group’s five members – Dougy Mandagi (vocals), Jonathon Aherne (bass guitar), Toby Dundas (drums), Lorenzo Sillitto (lead guitar) and Joseph Greer (keyboard) – are well-equipped for pumping out a big sound, and their widespread appeal and commercial success bodes well for a stadium setting.

Returning to the studio recently, The Temper Trap recorded their second album in Los Angeles with Beck collaborator Tony Hoffer. Lead singer Mandagi had just come out of a relationship when they wrote the album, and four or five of the tracks are ‘heartbreak’ songs, doing no favours for their growing reputation as soft-rockers. The self-titled offering – released earlier this year – went gold in the band’s home country.

From starting out in Melbourne, recording in the US, and now calling London home, the band is racking up their share of frequent flier miles. And displacement is also a recurring theme in their songs. “I definitely went through phases where the only place I felt like I belonged was on the road, on the stage, in a bus,” said Indonesian-born frontman Mandagi. “Being on the road gave me a sense of purpose. I love it and there’s no place I’d rather be, but at the same time it can be lonely. That’s all ammo for me as a lyricist.”

Aside from emo-ammo, the band took some writing gunpowder from their experience during the London riots last year. Anyone would presume that such anarchy is a likely catalyst for inspired song writing, but a review in the Guardian tore apart the band’s attempt (‘London’s Burning’). “The sense of a band who felt impelled to write about the riots without first checking whether or not they had anything to say about the riots is hard to miss,” the reviewer wrote.

But reviews are, of course, subjective. Leave your prejudices at the door and decide for yourself.

The Temper Trap
Store Vega
Sunday 20:00;
Tickets 220kr