Australian band The Temper Trap release their third studio album Thick As Thieves, which channels their robust ability to create catchy alt-rock anthems. The record is a strong attempt to find a streamlined artistic voice and sound, and while the return to basic instrumentation and harmonies works for the most part, the album ends up being rather mediocre and forgettable.

‘Thick As Thieves’ by The Temper Trap Album Review

The title track which opens the album kicks things off with a darker atmosphere and the synthy new wave rock influence of the early 90s. “Thick As Thieves” is a powerful opener, which succeeds in building just the right amount of tension to peak out interest in the beginning of the record. “So Much Sky” follows and lifts the stakes even higher with thumping drums and reverberating chants made for soaring festival crowds. The catchy harmonies and simplistic chorus, however, feel somewhat formulaic. Even though The Temper Trap clearly know how to make powerful and light pop anthems, their abounding hopefulness seems to lack a certain sonic edge that would truly set the band apart from so many other alternative/indie acts out there.

At times, Thick As Thieves feels as if the band is trying too hard to be interesting and relevant instead of focusing on finding and maintaining their identity. This naturally leads to an inconsistency in their sound, which ends up wallowing in a predictable sameness. One of the album’s singles “Burn” gets close to being a breakthrough in the band’s style, both capturing something of their true identity and breaking new ground with a heavier, more solid rock sound. However, the track falters in excessive repetition.Towards the closing of the record “Tombstone” slows down the tempo a bit.

Towards the closing of the record “Tombstone” switches gears a bit. The vocals are undeniably more varied and intriguing, spanning from a lower range on the verses and a high-pitched chorus. “What If I’m Wrong” slows down the tempo but similarly maintains the dynamic force, which makes the track stand out. The song’s highlights are the prominent synths and soaring chorus. Midway through the track a haunting guitar solo grips the listener’s attention (just as it does on “Tombstone”) once again before the melody resolves into a stripped down repetition of the chorus.

Thick As Thieves is a worthy accompaniment to any summer road trip to come, but ultimately lacks a memorable element that would make it stick around for any longer. That their songs are made for festival crowds/audiences is a core element of the band’s character, but it is clear that The Temper Trap is still struggling to find their original voice and vision.

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