Album Review: The Temper Trap – Thick As Thieves (2016 LP)

From the time you first heard the opening vocals on “Sweet Disposition”, you knew The Temper Trap had just that little something that was going to differentiate them from the rest of the pack.

A legitimate force when they released their debut LP Conditions, the band lost their way with their experimental, breaking-from-the-mould self titled sophomore effort. And while they haven’t quite gone full circle with Thick As Thieves, the band have definitely tapped into the goldmine they were prospecting at the time of Conditions.

Having taken their time to nurture and continually grow the album, Thick As Thieves is a neat, well-balanced jaunt from a band that have grown to be confortable within themselves once more. Album title and opening track “Thick As Thieves” is a little heavier and daunting, but definitely finds its feet in the closing stages as it climaxes over the closing 30 seconds. “So Much Sky” is just a straight out pop classic which definitely peaks during its chorus.

The undeniable vocals of front man Dougy Mandagi is the strength of the band; that variable that makes you know it’s The Temper Trap from the get-go. This is no different on “Burn”, the near peak on the album. The distinct opening riff, when matched with the stadium-in-waiting chorus makes “Burn” one of the stand out tracks. The tempo is slowed down momentarily with the balladry of “Lost”, while single “Fall Together” hits its straps once more with the soaring falsetto of Mandagi.

While the band have openly spoken that they really loved a lot of the tracks on their second album, there is a sense amongst fans (and the band themselves) that The Temper Trap is at their peak creating tunes that are meant to be sung along to, in large amphitheatres and to thousands of fans. While you can’t begrudge the band for wanting to not create Conditions 2.0, put simply, the music similarities between Thick As Thieves and Conditions shows the band at their best. Taking a dip into “Riverina”, this is the result if Conditions’ “Fader” and “Love Lost” were to have any offspring. This is once more one of the strongest tracks on the album; if not the strongest.

If there are to be any drawbacks on Thick As Thieves, it would be the overuse of drum pad/machine on the closing minute of “Summer’s Almost Gone”. While this is by no means a tragedy, as the track is the slowest on the album, the emphasis of the synthetic sounds is only amplified. Helping close out the album is the monstrously building “Tombstones”, “What If I’m Wrong” and the near perfect closer in “Ordinary World”.

While Thick As Thieves is most definitely an album made to be sung live, it will more than easily suit being blasted in the work office on a Friday arvo, Monday morning, or in the car on the way to your weekend. It is an album of ridiculously good choruses, stellar vocals and a couple cheeky guitar solos thrown in for goodwill. While the album has not quite reached the heights of their debut, The Temper Trap are most certainly back, and I for one am bloody stoked.

Review Score: 8.3 out of 10.

Thick As Thieves is out now.


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