The Temper Trap return with rock anthems on Thick As Thieves

Thick As ThievesDoes a band set out to make an anthem, or does it come naturally? What exactly were Europe thinking when they laid down “The Final Countdown”? Did Fun. consider that they would touch the hearts of every student leaving school or university in 2012 with “We Are Young”? Surely Ke$ha knew “Tik Tok” was going to be huge as soon as the line “wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy” was born?

If bands aim to create an anthem, they’ve got to have a list of the necessary components – a catchy melody, blood-pumping drum beats and, most importantly, a chorus more memorable than your own last name. It seems The Temper Trap had such a list when making their third album, Thick As Thieves. The full length, due to be released on 10th June 2016 via Glassnote Records, sees the band return with an album full of hopeful alt rock anthems, subsequently leaving their pop days of 2009 truly behind them.

The issue with a formula is that it can grow tiresome. “Fall Together” is one such example; starting out with some distinct similarities to a Foals track, there is power behind the music but it doesn’t quite stick in the mind. Considering the band collaborated with Justin Parker (Lana Del Rey, Bat for Lashes) on this one, you would think the song would have a bit of an edge, but it falls short with underwhelming chorus lyrics.

The most recently released single, “Burn” has a similar effect. With some classic background “ahhhs” in the pre-chorus filling in space and the entire song dedicated to flame-related imagery, it feels quite deliberately anthemic. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does hold the song back from standing out.

There are some wonderful gems on Thick As Thieves, however. It kicks off with the title track; a song that sees the band trying out a different angle, with almost a Wild West feel and haunting vocal effects. The chorus is still relatively anthem-like, but in the successful sort of way that makes you want to rewind and listen to it again immediately. The band worked with Pascal Gabriel (Goldfrapp, Ladyhawke), who knows a thing or two about trying exciting new musical ground.

After a few forgettable middle tracks, “Tombstone” wakes us up again with an almost Bombay Bicycle Club feel, while “What If I’m Wrong” is the closest the band get to touching on their 2009 Conditions album days – although it is still pretty guitar-driven. The track sees the album take a different direction, slowing down the tempo for what is a sweet and brooding song.

Thick As Thieves, while not consistently riling and somewhat predictable at times, is still absolutely worth giving a listen to for the stand-out tracks – especially if you are lucky enough to be going to Glasto this year where the band will be appearing on the Saturday. Also, the cover art is pretty damn adorable.

Release: 10th June 2016, Glassnote Records

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