Monday 25 September 2017

London burns bright for avant-garde indie stars

John Meagher

John Meagher

album of the week

the temper trap

The Temper Trap

(Infectious)

HHHHI

One might have imagined that the riots that gripped urban Britain for a crazy few nights last August would provide plenty of inspiration for any number of musicians, but it has taken a band from faraway Melbourne to best capture the mindless lawlessness.

London's Burning is an electrifying tour-de-force, a pulsating study of a society in chaos. Actual recordings are spliced into the song -- including the words of a young rioter whose myriad crimes include his use of the English language.

It's a powerful composition and very much indebted to The Clash -- not just because it shares a title, but also because of the intoxicating coda it boasts.

It should sound pretty special when The Temper Trap roll into Dublin's Phoenix Park on July 18 for a date alongside Florence + The Machine and Snow Patrol. And this second album is full of such intriguing -- and highly accomplished -- material.

The band's elevation to the A-list was secured when their U2-esque single Sweet Disposition became one of the most unexpected hits of 2009.

Their debut album, Conditions, consequently shifted almost a million copies. But, in truth, it was a patchy affair, offering nothing to rival the brilliance of its flagship track.

It's a very different story this time. This self-titled effort exudes self-assurance from the off. The songs are written with one eye on the enormodomes they play now and another on the FM-playlists, but their desire to think big hasn't eroded a yen for the avant-garde.

Just when you think you have the measure of the band, they throw in a few curveballs to keep things interesting.

And the songs pack a powerful punch: There's the indie-gospel of Miracle -- sumptuously arranged and as tender a tune as you're likely to hear all year; the giddy synth rush of Where Do We Go From Here?; and Rabbit Hole, which starts as a sparse, disquieting meditation before dissolving into an enormous electro-rock epic made for the wide-open spaces of the Phoenix Park.

Key tracks London's Burning; Where Do We Go From Here?

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