Fans of The Temper Trap wondered for so long when they’d get to hear the delightful music of their favourite Melbourne rockers again, and what it would sound like. How would the band follow up to their massively impressive and successful second, self-titled album released in 2012? Well; with an album 32 months in the making, that turned out better than anyone could have hoped for. With the weight of four years worth of expectation on their shoulders, the band – reduced to a quartet once again following the departure of founding member and guitarist Lorenzo Sillitto – refused to succumb to the pressure, and produced the goods once again.
Following the more experimental style of 2012’s self-titled album, the group opted for a return to the guitar driven sound we became accustomed to on 2009’s Conditions, while retaining the best elements of both ventures to create something really quite magnificent. Thick as Thieves exists as an almost perfect blend of everything we’ve grown to love about The Temper Trap over the course of the past two albums. Dougy Mandagi maintains the memorable, catchy lyrics, and pumping anthem beats, but beneath all of that, there’s an aura of subdued, soulfulness in the words, the way he sings them, and the music which accompanies it. These really are songs straight from the heart.
It’s tracks like Fall Together, Riverina, Alive, Burn, and the titular single, which remind you of the great things this band can achieve. That wonderfully upbeat aura of happiness, which makes you want to sing along and dance, but with substance in addition to all the style; the lyrics mean something, and the music feels authentic rather than produced. Alternatively, you get tracks somewhat more subdued; the likes of Lost, Tombstone, and Summer’s Almost Gone which showcase a more emotional, mature sound from The Temper Trap. We as listeners were teased with this ability over the previous two albums, and now on Thick as Thieves, it finally has a chance to shine.
The entire album is so well balanced, with such a consistently excellent array of songs. It’s so massively pleasing, with something for everyone, and having waited for its release for several years, I can say with certainty that it was well worth the wait. Thick as Thieves is another huge step in the right direction for the band, showcasing once again that they’re one of the best in the business when it comes to this sort of thing. You’d be hard pressed to find a criticism in what is one of 2016’s most delightful releases, and another landmark in Australian music.
– Kieran Griffiths