No Love Lost for The Temper Trap’s Return

The Temper Trap returns to Singapore to enthrall audiences with tracks off their new album.
The Temper Trap at Hard Rock Collesium
Photo by Alvin Ho

It is almost impossible to single out a tune that fully captures The Temper Trap’s style (with that said, stop me from making too many ‘Sweet Disposition’ references), but that’s the beauty of the Melbourne four-piece. The band was said to be apprehensive about their latest album release — the departure of a founding guitarist mid-production will do that to you — but their reception at the one-night concert at The Coliseum Hard Rock Hotel last Friday swept the last of those doubts aside.

Embracing a spirit of immediacy, they unabashedly played a setlist brimming with numbers from their newest album release. The 1100-strong audience was treated to a full show, complete with immaculate lighting cues, flawless guitar falsetto interplay and perfectly timed long-haired flicks. Full-bodied and wistful, the wide range of styles from the night’s choices highlighted the band’s versatility, showcasing their seamless transition from their explosive debut album Conditions to a more carefully curated Thick as Thieves.

The Temper Trap
Photo by Aloysius Lim

The indie-rock veterans delved almost immediately into their newest album’s title track ‘Thick as Thieves, with frontman Dougy Mandagi’s soft crooning and the band’s slow buildup creating the perfect explosive opening piece. The familiar beats of crowd favorite ‘Love Lost followed, compelling the audience to clap along and accompany drummer Toby Dundas’ indulgence in the hard beats and crashing cymbals. The song culminated with the entire band abandoning their instruments to join the audience’s clapping, in an affirmation of everyone’s love for the classic number.

The Temper Trap Live in Singapore
Photo by Aloysius Lim

That being said, the band kept audience interaction to a minimum. Save for the standard quips about the things Singapore’s best known for: our food and our heat, they focused on the one thing they came to deliver: their colossal and anthemic sound.

Mandagi’s immaculate vocal control was showcased in numbers like ‘Fall Together and ‘Burn. The frontman’s earnest and soaring vocals, coupled with the band’s delayed, rolling chords and powerful guitar solos, exemplified their trademark sound. The 17-song set included old gems like the gritty ‘Science to Fear‘, ‘Resurrection and the ‘Drum Song, which saw a percussive smorgasbord from Dundas, supported by Mandagi going at it with the tom-tom and keyboardist-slash-guitarist Joseph Greer whipping out dynamic riffs. ‘So Much Sky was another sweaty dance number with a glossy electronic sheen and a prompted audience chanting along in the background.   

The Temper Trap enthralls Audience in Sinagpore
Photo by Alvin Ho

The band’s choices for the night sampled songs from the styles they have embraced over the years; from the punchy ‘Alive to the melodramatic ‘Rabbithole. In the latter, they gingerly caressed a delicate buildup to the incendiary climax with Mandagi’s strong falsetto cutting through the grandiose instrumentals. What followed was palette-cleanser ‘Summer’s Almost Gone. A rather gossamer track, it set the stage with perfect control for the band’s larger-than-life sound to smash through, anchored by the brilliant backbone from the electronic drums.

The Temper Trap launches into a Drum Solo
Photo by Aloysius Lim

Highlights included the soulful melodramatics of ‘Trembling Hands and of course, the moment of love, a dream, a laugh, a kiss… you know the one. Instead of launching into ‘Sweet Disposition‘s telltale opening guitar arpeggio, the band teased relentlessly with a heart-rending drum intro. For fans unfamiliar with this particular drum solo, it was all very “will they, won’t they?” till Mandagi launched into the lyrics of the night’s most anticipated piece.

The band has often voiced concerns about being known as the “Sweet Disposition” one-trick pony, but if this show proved anything, it was that The Temper Trap remains unparalleled in its ability to capture and enthrall listeners. Despite the band’s own apprehension about how their new music would be received, the numbers from their latest album had the raucous crowd eating out of their hands.

Dougy Mandagi Of The Temper Trap
Photo by Alvin Ho

In short, the Australian outfit definitely has room to grow, without fear that their creative style will be severely marred by the double-edged sword that is their early hit single. With so much potential ahead, it’s clear that they won’t stop till it’s over or pardon me till their surrender.

Photos courtesy of Live Nation Lushington

You can stream Thick as Thieves on your favorite music service.

Spotify  Apple Music