21 September 2013

Thunder - Backstreet Symphony

Lots of people think that classic rock is mostly dominated by those girls and fella's from over the water (aka America), but there has been a plethora of bands from this side of the pond which are just as good (and sometimes better) than some of their American brethren.  You can point to David Bowie, Mott The Hoople, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath as some prime examples of this claim.  Back in 1990, Thunder was throwing their collective hat into the ring to see if they could be added to that list of British great heavy rock bands.  From London and formed after the breakup of Terraplane, this album came out a year after they formed after they performed a demo audition for their then label, EMI.  Coming from a blues/rock culture, this album has all the trademarks of a British classic, but does it actually deliver.

Opening with the ever present "She's So Fine" which is still a highlight in all their sets whenever they get back together (they keep retiring and splitting up - it is like a American wrestler who keeps saying he will not return to the ring ever.... 3 months later.....), as is "Dirty Love", the exquisite "Love Walked In" and "Higher Ground".  The fact that these songs are still included in their sets over 23 years later are signs that either their other material was poor or that these were quality hard rock/blues numbers.  I am happy to inform that it was the later thankfully for the most part.  This album does dig deep in the traditional British hard rock mine and there is some pleasant surprises away from the major tracks as well with "Don't Wait For Me", the title track and "Until My Dying Day" are very good as well.

However, this album does peak a little too early with "Love Walked In" and the last four songs on the album - "An English Man On Holiday", "Girl's Going Out Of Her Head", a cover of "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "Distant Thunder" all reek of filler and are nowhere near as high a quality as the rest of the album.  With these all being planted at the very end of the album it drags down the whole experience quite heavily.  The thing to remember is this was their debut album, but someone should have had a word with them and mixed the songs in with the rest of the album.  But four poor songs out of 11 for a debut album is not a bad return for a debut, just placing them on the end is a rookie mistake.  Still, the benignity of the last four tracks is a direct contrast to the glory that is showered on those opening seven tracks.  Not a classic debut, but a good one.

6.5 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there

You can purchase the album on Amazon here

You can visit the Thunder website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

Here is a live version of "Love Walked In" from 2007

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