The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
THUNDER-WONDER-DAYS-REVIEW-2015

 

THUNDER – WONDER DAYS

EARMUSIC

FEBRUARY 16 2015

 

 

Thunder split up in 2009, there was to be no more touring, no more recording, it was all over … final, The End  - ‘20 Years and Out’ – or so the T-Shirts and various other merchandise said.  But rather like a bad day at work where you think ‘that’s it I’ve had enough’ you normally end up sleeping on it and giving it another go… For Thunder it didn’t last that long really they’ve released more live recordings since they split than they ever had before; continued the traditional Christmas gigs (at bigger venues forsaking my beloved Rock City), played Festivals and a tour of UK Arenas with Journey and Whitesnake (Where we saw them on three of those dates). Now Thunder is back with a brand new album… next time maybe use that word ‘hiatus’?


We do love Thunder though, and these ears still consider them to be one of the finest British Rock bands to come out of the eighties and right up there with the best that small island nation has ever produced. So six years after that split and two years after Danny told us there would be no new album (check out that interview below); here it is the new Thunder album ‘Wonder Days’ which I have been referring to as ‘The Wonder Years’ for the last week!

 
DANNY BOWES 2013 INTERVIEW


The only question of course is how good is it? Well, to be honest it’s pretty damn good…


‘Wonder Days’ itself has a riff and a feel to it like the majestic ‘Backstreet Symphony’ and some of the dynamics, but expands out to reveal a midsection that has mildly progressive leanings and more than a nod to Bad Co. It’s a wonderful way to start before we are dropped into the good-time party rock ‘n’ roll of ‘The Thing I Want’ which is just the type of sing-along crowd-pleaser that Thunder always manage to excel at!


If your tastes are timeless Rock then really there is something for everyone on here, and with that variety there’s also a sense that things are just a little more precise, a little less fluid, and whilst at times you do wish they would let go completely, that sense of restraint and at times understatement is an important part of the overall sound.   
‘The Rain’ is Thunder’s equivalent of Bad Co.’s ‘Seagull’ all acoustic and gentle with a similar seafaring theme. It’s a great song and works well against the openers. ‘Black Water’ that follows is a mid-tempo number with swing; it’s melodic and soulful like Foreigner meets Thunder’s own ‘River of Pain’.


One of the highlights for us is the forceful ‘The Prophet’ which is almost Heart does Zeppelin but with the drive of classic UFO, a lot like the riff driven ‘Casting Shadows’ – two of the best here. ‘Resurrection Day’ is a mild mid tempo rock run through with Bryan Adams and pop rock stylings that is pleasant but no diamond.


As you might expect from Thunder there is a big ballad and ‘Broken’ is a great ballad, piano and voice is all it needs, and along with ‘The Rain’ it shows that Thunder are often at their best when almost all is stripped away.
‘When The Music Played’ has an almost Bond-theme chorus across a blues chug with strong melodies, but it blossoms into something else entirely as the solo breaks cover half way in and we realise that Thunder has landed another epic with an almost ‘Higher Ground’ (Wonder not Thunder) midsection and sublime finish. It’s a definite go-to track.


Rounding out the album ‘Serpentine’ has a laid-back ZZ Top gospel zeal before a subdued heavy swing rock and roll breaks in, it’s a great song but perhaps the only track here I would have loved with a bit more bite. The sound suits the band and it’s a shame it’s not taken further. Closer ‘I Love the weekend’ is as you would imagine another party rocker to keep us satisfied. Segar-like old time rock n roll taking it all the way back to the wonder days, like ‘Battleship Chains’ meets ‘Bad to the Bone’ it’s a great way to close.


‘Wonder Days’, the band’s 10th studio album hits the mark, while at time you feel it is somewhat restrained, it’s quality Rock and Roll with more than enough great tracks to see them through their upcoming stadium dates. If ever the time was right for the re-emergence of this great British band it’s now.

 

 

by Mark Rockpit

 

THUNDER-WONDER-DAYS-REVIEW-2015