If you're from England and you love classic AOR melodic hard rock, then Thunder is no stranger to you. Their early success came in last decade of the last century, but there appearances and output have been a bit spotty over the last fifteen years. Yet even with six years since the last album, the band returns strong with the latest Wonder Days.
Probably the first, best, observation is that this album is pure Thunder, and that's a good thing to say. Classic blues touched melodic hard rock. Guitarist Luke Morley operates as the master song maker, crafting songs around his guitar harmony and riffage, significant melodies, and the dynamic vocals of Danny Bowes, still one of the best in the business. Mostly, the songs rock, roll, and sound darn catchy with their groove and accessibility.
Following this observation songs like The Thing I Want, the uber catchy Resurrection Day and Serpentine deliver the goods, keeping your toe-tapping. Then there's I Love The Weekend, sounding like some rock out of the Fifties, Bo Diddley all jacked up and electric. Also of interest is The Prophet, with the galloping drum and bass line leading Morley's guitar line, it had this Schenker-era UFO familiarity. The title track, the autobiographical Wonder Days seems a series of contrasts: sharp riffs and heaviness are juxtaposed with a laid back breakdown throughout the song.
There's a ballad in Broken, moved largely from the start by piano, only to have Morley's guitar to rise in the middle. Lastly, there's The Rain, probably my favorite track of the bunch. I want to call it a ballad, but it's mostly good storytelling set to music. It's essentially an acoustic number, guitar and mandolin, with Bowes voice floating over them, but the melody and harmony is particularly exquisite and moving. It's simply a joy to listen to. In the end, as said earlier, Wonder Days is straight up, classic, Thunder, and the band has never sounded better. Quite recommended.
Wonder Days is straight up, classic, Thunder, and the band has never sounded better with their blues-tinged AOR melodic hard rock. Quite recommended.
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