July 13, 2016 The Temper Trap – Thick As Thieves (Album Review)
The Temper Trap has been making waves in the Indie Rock world since its formation back in 2005 out of Melbourne, Australia. A unique mix of musicians, Dougy Mandagi (vocals, guitar), Toby Dundas (drums), Jonathon Aherne (vocals, bass guitar), Joseph Greer (guitar), along with Lorenzo Sillitto (guitar) set their own standard and define their own sound. Relocating to London in 2008, The Temper Trap has since been nominated for numerous awards, and won Best Group by ARIA Music Awards, along with Best Break-Out Songwriter. Their 2009 debut, Conditions, saw the single “Sweet Dispositions” receive multiple awards for Best Song, and the album received an award for Best Album. Likewise, 2012’s self-titled album went platinum in Australia and peaked at 17 on the U.S. Indie charts.
So where does this talented bunch go from there? Well, they like to take their time when it comes to creating an album, and until this point, the slow, steady method has worked quite well. Now returning four years later, while the results are still out on the latest effort, Thick As Thieves, it is sure to see the success of their previous albums. The album sees a bit of a change for the band with Sillitto departing from the lineup in 2013 and thus resulting in the band becoming a one guitar band. Furthermore, the record also is the first to see the band call on outside writers to assist in the songwriting process.
Starting the eleven track musical journey is the title track, “Thick As Thieves.” With foreboding guitars and echoing vocals, the music immediately has a haunting vibe as shrill vocals are introduced with lower vocals creating a very serious sounding harmony. A grand intro, next comes “So Much Sky,” which features a quick synth opening leading into a drum solo, and a chorus of “Oh-wee-ohs.” The track turns around again to feature just a bass and vocals while it feels like a combination of coming together and childhood summer time memories. Bringing on the feeling of a U2 concert, “Burn” draws listeners in with a patient and inspiring beat. As the passion flows, high notes of the guitar fills the air, creating a melody that soothes quite beautifully. Then comes “Lost,” which is introduced with high-pitched vocals, flashing guitars, and drums kicking in a steady tempo. Speaking about being strong, this song will motivate listeners to live life, but to stop and smell the roses, and most of all, have no fear.
Harking back to an early 2000s Indie Rock style, “Fall Together” comes on with a bouncing, relaxing beat. A feeling of hope pervades in the song and it is reflected in each instrument and the vocals. Moving on, a maraca paired with a bass guitar sets the mood for “Alive,” which picks up the pace with a dangerous feeling of having a mission or purpose. Leaning more toward Alternative Rock, “Riverina” feels like a track fans might add to a road trip playlist. Changing it up once more, the synth style returns for “Summer’s Almost Gone.” Featuring evocative vocal, the words “Summer’s almost gone, and you’re not coming home…” mold this melody in to a depressingly angelic composition. Bringing the happier emotions back, “Tombstone” is highlighted by a chorus of children’s’ voices singing out, adding some diversity to the overall track.
Later on, “Ordinary World” comes on, opening with a little warping and some sound effects for retro feel. Continuing the warping, vocals create a sense of living life in a black and white dream, but then guitars break through and add color, or emotion, to the “perfect” life. Thereafter, “Providence” sees a return of the soul-encompassing melodies, and shrill vocals. Background vocals chime in to create a very unified sound and the beat forces self-reflection. This is before “On The Run” brings on a slightly dreamlike sensation while a bass guitar acts as an anchor for an overall sober feeling. Rounding out the album, “Closer” does so with a quiet beat that triggers an air of regret. Deeper vocals tell a story and high-pitched vocals chime in to add a flare, alongside a guitar. Both are elements which add illustration to the stories sung, making for a magnificent, pleasing end to the music.
Certainly a bit of a new direction for the band, fans will find the piercing vocals on Thick As Thieves refreshing and different. The beats of each song create a picture, and the lyrics add interesting detail to each song. Each element present by the tracks are incredible on their own, but combined, they create powerful works of art. An album The Temper Trap should be completely satisfied with, CrypticRock gives Thick As Thieves 5 out of 5 stars.