BMG [Release date 19.01.19]
Let’s be quite clear: ‘Rip It Up’ was one of the best albums of 2017, a vibrant, relevant chapter in the modern-day Thunder storybook. It must surprise the band themselves that they have been allowed to “retire” a couple of times – once even in more recent memory – only to come back with renewed vigour and a bigger audience. The truth is not hard to find. In a topsy turvy millennium music business there will always be a place for quality songs and musicianship. Even better if you have an admirable back catalogue to draw upon.
Maybe with more (younger) competition things would be harder for these veteran bands who effectively stalled at the first hurdle “back in the day”. This can only help explain the renaissance of bands like Thunder, Europe, and FM?
The persistent trend for consumer quick fix and a grasshopper mentality and of course the lack of real mainstream exposure for new bands via radio or TV and – moreover – lack of real investment, leads to stasis. It allows old rockers to breathe again, especially if the original line-up is pretty much intact and the creative marbles untainted.
Which brings us to ‘Please Remain Seated’ Before you get excited this isn’t really a “new” Thunder album it’s simply a fairly low-key mainly bluesy revisit of previous work with only one track, the early single ‘She’s So Fine’, connecting with ‘Rip It Up’.
You have to think that Thunder have missed the boat a bit, because in a different age ‘Please Remain Seated’ would be termed “unplugged”. It’s like a group of ageing rockers are getting a long-hibernated vanity project out of their system.
Of course, the songs always stand up – as does Danny Bowes’ voice – but some fans (or the yet to be converted) may have been better off with a more natural successor to an excellent previous album. It means essentially that the true successor will be delayed.
And following a trend the band will be promoting the album in February with not a large rock venue tour but a rather more civilised excursion taking in some of the finest concert halls such as Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. All they need to do is add orchestra and maybe their journey will be complete. ***1/2
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
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