Australian Indie-Alternative band The Temper Trap are back with their much awaited third album. The band rose to popularity with their 2008 single Sweet Disposition (which featured on the 500 Days of Summer Soundtrack). After three long years of recording, Thick as Thieves is finally ready to be released just in time for the bands tour of Australia, Asia and Europe. Since their second self-titled LP, there has been rumors of the band being under pressure to revert back to their old sound, which they have somewhat fulfilled. The band has primarily produced this album with Pascal Gabriel, known for his work with Marina and the Diamonds, and Goldfrapp.
The record certainly has a less eclectic feel compared to their previous albums, with a definite alternative rock sound. Rather than the band dabbling in electro-pop, dream-pop and experimental sounds as they have in previous releases, this album is all about the basic guitar and drum duo.
The title track Thick as Thieves begins the record with an upbeat, punchy sound. It is definitely ready to be played on the radio with its catchy chorus, it is one of the most memorable tracks on the album. The second track So Much Sky is a perfect song for summer, with vocalist Dougy Mandagi’s unique voice placed over a simple beat, it’s great for long drives with the windows down. The next three tracks are arguably very forgettable, including the first single of the album Fall Together, which is hard to identify as anything special. Nonetheless the remainder of the album recovers. Track six, Alive, has a catchy baseline running through it which carries the lyrics of “feels so good to be alive”, echoing the bands shift to a more classic alternative sound.
Track eight, Summer’s Almost Gone, is my favorite of the record, and has saved the album from mediocrity. It brings with it nostalgic memories of listening to their first album Conditions, with a dream-pop like sound, thought provoking lyrics, and well-rounded sound juxtaposed with heavy distortion. It’s easy listening done right, with the last minute of the track changing sound, cutting back effects and ending with an acoustic based rhythm. This song slows downs the pace of the whole album, and compared to the rest of the tracks which are overpowered by drums and guitar riffs, this track has a clear vocal, and a catchy pre-chorus.
Sadly, there isn’t much which stands out about this third record. It lacks the gripping emotion of the previous LPs, even though the tracks complement each other well. They have completely moved away from the dream-pop era, and have moved towards a classic alternative rock sound, which makes many of their tracks in the middle of their album forgettable and dated. I can’t help but feel some of the tracks are too long with many using the same pattern of repeating lyrics quietly with repetitive guitar riffs and drums layered over them. For now, when I want to listen to The Temper Trap I will still think of their first album. Whether this record will be an indie hit or not only time will tell.
The Temper Trap will be at Dot to Dot Festival in Nottingham on May 29.
Thick as Thieves is released June 10 2016.