After no less than three reunions, it finally feels like British rockers Thunder are here to stay. The band’s latest effort is the fourth since the last reunion in 2014, if you include the compilation album Please Remain Seated (2019) of reworked older tracks and all the albums have been really damn good. Now, that’s hardly a shocker as Thunder has always delivered the goods, the underwhelming Giving The Game Away from 1999 excepted. It was four years since Thunder dropped any newly written material on us and now when they do, expectations are shooting like rockets to the sky. Well, at least for me they are.
The album opens in a political way – Brexit is being brought up here – with the leading single ”Last One To Turn Out The Light”. But it’s not a gloomy number at all, quite the contrary. It’s an upbeat, stompy and fat-grooved Classic Rock belter with prominent hooks, a swinging horn-section and an infectious beat that will make the most negative person get up and shake it off. It’s a thrilling blues-rock stomper with Led Zeppelin-esque riffs but also a contagious main-melody and a chorus that flirts with Pop. It’s an awesome song that deserved to be a big hit and I can’t wait to catch Thunder live playing this gem.
”Destruction” slows things down and takes on a heavier vibe with a darker sound based on heavy bluesy Classic Rock, very groundy and stripped down. The verses takes on a more down-beat vibe yet infected with some gritty, massive guitar-riffage and the whole tune brings on a rowdy nature. Thunder has never been this heavy before and they do it with all the glory. ”The Smoking Gun” starts out stripped and calming with acoustic guitars and vocals. The tune speeds up some but keeping the slow pace and they bring on a bit of a western, Zep-like vibe. ”We all let the devil in cause no one believed he could win”, sneers Danny Bowes about what must be about that orange maniac from overseas. It’s a great, down-beat number but it comes too soon in the setlist.
Taking on a bigger party-mood, the Classic Rock stomper and second single ”Going To Sin City” takes on an infectious groove with a chunky guitar-riff and an uplifting horn-section that says dance til you drop – and the live-feel here is intense and very prominent. It’s a fun-loving, upbeat and killer track that holds some striking pop-twists within the vocal melodies and the big chorus is captivating. Bloody awesome. Just as swinging is ”Don’t Forget To Live Before You Die” although it starts out more mellow with only bass, drums and vocals before it goes off on a strong Classic Rock note with an edgy guitar and a splendid groove right in the early 80’s Whitesnake corner. It’s a real foot-stomper with a pumping bass-line and live-friendly hooks that will get any crowd on the rise. Very good.
Latest single ”I’ll Be The One” is a slow and pretty smooth ballad with a grand piano at front. It’s a mellow and pretty earthy tune even when the rhythm-section and the guitars joins in and gives the song a bit of a groove. It also comes with a bluesy feel, some strings and a tear-jerking vocal melody with a whole bag of emotions to go with it. I wonder what it would take for a band like Thunder to get some air-play for this one because it deserves to be a hit. I dig. ”Young Man” brings on the party mood again with a chunky beat, some Classic Rock edges, fat riffing and a rough groove even though it’s a mid-paced number. The chorus is a beast and the song takes me back to the very beginning of this band. Love it.
With ”You’re Gonna Be My Girl”, Thunder serves a bonafide Pop tune albeit in a Classic Rock robe. At the same time as it’s a smooth and close to glossy number, it’s also upbeat, heavily groovy and stompy – and it rocks like mutha. They take 70’s Rolling Stones, The Faces and a late 60’s touch and spice it up with with big a female choir that brings an almost Gospel like twist to the table. It’s a fantastic tune that will rock the socks off any festival crowd out there – or any crowd at all. It’s the second single off the album and it’s nothing short of a mystery why this tune isn’t already all over the air waves.
”St George’s Day” is a more down-beat tune, big on acoustic guitars yet with a laid-back groove. It’s stripped and earthy, quite organic but it also throws some crispy and crunchy guitars and an organ our way with the addition of some background orchestration. It’s a serious number aimed at the lack of acceptance from some groups when it comes to immigration. A brilliant tune. ”Force Of Nature” opens with an acoustic guitar riff and some vocals but even then it manages to create a foot-stomping groove. When the electric guitars, bass and drums comes in the groove increases yet another level and the song turns into a kicking rocker. The tune is surely a kick in the nuts towards the horrible Donald Trump and that alone is worth applause. The fact that it is a great tune makes for more of those applauds.
Closing track ”She’s A Millionairess” is a stomping and swinging party-stomper that mixes 70’s Classic Rock and 80’s Melodic Hard Rock in the finest of ways. There’s an even more swinging electric piano thrown in for grooves’ sake and the female backing choir is back again, this time bringing in a Soul vibe to the mix. It’s really a good-time number made for the stage and with the intense catchiness which shows up both in the verses and the mastodon chorus makes this scream hit for miles. This must be a single at one point or another. Absolutely spectacular.
If you’re a Thunder fan or a fan of Classic Rock in general this album is really a no-brainer because this might just be Thunder’s finest moment in many a moon – and the band has released some damn fine albums in later years. Style-wise, with Thunder you know what you’re getting – Classic Rock with a twist of melodic Hard Rock and even poppier moments and it’s not hard to draw parallels towards Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and early Whitesnake. But Thunder is a band that has no problems inserting a little bit of everything they fancy, be it Soul, Gospel, Blues or plain Rock ’n’ Roll and bits of all that has found its way in here. But what they really has managed to do here is to write a batch of great tunes, tunes that will work just as well in your stereo as from the stage. This is a killer so just buy it, dammit!