BMG [Release date 12.03.21]
Thunder have been on something of a purple patch album wise since 2015’s ‘Wonder Days’ and that form continues on this, their thirteenth studio album (if you include 2019’s acoustic led ‘Please Remain Seated’). They have gone big on the backing vocals (who include the Duchess from Space Elevator), brass and strings on some of the songs, plus recorded quite possibly one of their heaviest songs to date, ‘Destruction’.
The album opens with the raucous ‘Last One Turn Out The Lights’, where the band’s songwriter Luke Morley doesn’t shy away from letting you know where he stands on Brexit! This song has it all from a borrowed Led Zep riff (which to be fair, that band borrowed from the blues pioneers), sassy female backing vocals and brass. Quite possibly their best song since ‘She’s So Fine’. This is quickly followed by ‘Destruction’, dealing with mental health and the heaviest song Thunder have recorded to date. The guitar on here is distorted and loud, with Danny Bowes in simply stunning vocal form.
‘Sin City’ will be a live staple I am sure, with its chugging riff and instant chorus. Again the band add in a bit of brass to give the song that little something extra. ‘You’re Gonna Be My Girl’ is a fun blues rocker harking back to ‘Backstreet Symphony’ days, complete with honkytonk piano. ‘She’s A Millionairess’ is the other party rocker on here. Loving the use of backing vocals and the electric piano, which gives it a little bit of Faces feel.
Trump rears his ugly head on ‘Force Of Nature’ – and quite possibly the subject matter of ‘The Smoking Gun’. The latter is a song based around the acoustic guitar and Danny’s vocals. ‘Force Of Nature’ starts slow, before the guitars kick in and like the rest of the album, the rhythm section of Chris Childs and Harry James groove as one.
Seeing Britain from the eyes of a refugee on ‘St George’s Day’ certainly pulls no punches. Another thought provoking lyric.
Now Thunder are rightly known for their emotionally charged ballads and rightly so, with this album providing us with ‘I’ll Be The One’. I will wager this one will feature on few future romantic rock playlists and rockers’ weddings. It has it all from the piano and strings working their musical magic, through to another emotionally charged vocal performance from Danny Bowes.
If funds allow do invest in the double CD edition as not only do you get eight of the album’s songs recorded live last summer at the legendary Rockfield Studios, but four other new songs too. Pick of these are the mid-tempo rocker ‘The Fires That Roar’ (featuring some of the album’s best guitar on it) and the ballad ‘Hero’.
Thunder fans will love this album as it touches all the band’s key strengths – memorable songs, party rockers, ballads, lyrics to make you think and above all, well-crafted hard rock tunes. An Album of the Year and one that could turn out to be their best since their legendary debut album. ****1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 14 March 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
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14:00-16:00 KAT DANSER One Eye Open (indie)
Power Plays w/c 5 April 2021 (Mon-Fri)
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DIRTY LACES Breathe (Golden Robot Records)
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