FEBRUARY ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Well, well – this album does exactly what it says on the tin!
Following the Top 10 success of the band’s last – and comeback – album, many may have wondered how Thunder would follow up on ‘Wonder Days’ and the big arena concert hall success that followed. Rather than more of the same, the band has produced perhaps its finest album in 20 years.
Creatively, it literally explodes through the speakers and arrests your attention. The two album openers – ‘No One Gets Out Alive’ and ‘Rip it Up’ – have been in circulation with reviewers and radio producers for a few weeks as album promos – but these are no more than just tasters for an album that opens up track by track, engaging you with an exciting variety of styles and moods. On first listen, the album reminded me a little of ‘Behind Closed Doors’ for its breadth of styles, but ‘Rip it Up’ is a lot more than this – and much more sophisticated. It is energetic and very fresh – the music really feels ‘alive.’ As an album ‘Rip It Up’ has the feel of a band at the top of their game, brimming with confidence and pushing themselves to new limits.
Picking out a stand out track is something I have struggled with and to me misses the point with this album. ‘Rip It Up’ works best as an album in its entirety – the way the songs follow and bounce of each other is where the real magic lies. Like those landmark classic rock albums we have all grown up with, ‘Rip It Up’ works as a body of work. It’s not an album to buy a few tracks from on iTunes or to skip through tracks with the CD remote. This is an album to sit back and enjoy from start to finish: Play it loud and with the lights off!
I have followed the band’s releases for a number of decades, but what ‘Rip It Up’ really does remarkably is to showcase two of the band’s enduring talents at their very best. Danny’s vocal performances on this album are exceptional for the range of songs tackled and beyond the rock, there’s real soul and blues that comes out and grabs you. Luke Morley – in my opinion one of the best songwriters in the business – also shines on ‘Rip It Up’ for some sumptuous guitar work – blues, rock, funk, soul there are a whole range of moods on this album. The guitar finale to ‘Right From The Start’ is special, full of expression and life.
Thunder is a band, like them personally or not, where the underlying quality of the music making is unquestionable – a case in point proving that quality is so much more long-lasting and tangible than fashion or ‘this week’s thing.’ Thunder, in my book, follow in the tradition of Led Zep, Free, Queen as representing the best of British rock: music that will endure, inspire and influence. From the various interviews I have done with dozens of young rock bands for my Friday rock show, Thunder is repeatedly cited as both an influence and role model for a new generation of exciting rock bands. Given all that, it would be all-too-easy for a band that has been on the road for 27 years to sit back and live off its greatest hits archive. But it isn’t: The guys at Thunder are still pushing boundaries, trying new things and – based on ‘Rip It Up’ – there is an undeniable sense that the best is yet to come.
‘Rip It Up’ is released on 10 February 2017.
For pre-order and bundles information and band news visit Thunder at http://www.thunderonline.com/www/
My new feature interview with the band will be airing on the Friday rock show on 17 February 2017. Follow my show Twitter page for updates @GuyB_rockshow