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London burns bright for avant-garde indie stars

album of the week

the temper trap

The Temper Trap



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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