The English band Thunder is back with their 9th studio album “Bang!”. Like a lot of English bands there is nothing flashy or outrageous about Thunder and like a lot of their European counter-parts they have largely been ignored here in the states but loved throughout Europe and Asia. They are not a band whose music is going to start a musical revolution or change the world, but the things you are always going to get from Danny Bowes, Luke Morley, and the boys are a solid performance with some great songs from start to finish.
“Bang!’ gets started with “On The Radio”, which is a classic Thunder song that can proudly stand up with songs like “Dirty Love”, “Flawed To Perfection”, and “I Love You More Than Rock-n-Roll” to name a few. Bowes sings the truth in fact that the band has survived in the music business for over 20 years despite the fact they have received almost no support from radio or video channels. Morley, one of the most underrated guitar players in music, lays down a great bluesy riff with a great solo and a touch of slide guitar. “On The Radio” is a song that will have to tapping your foot and singing along after one listen.
“Stormwater” has another great blues riff as it starts off and with the bass lines laid down by Chris Childs. It is not a sing along song like the album opener but with its great solo and jam feel to it it is definitely another can’t miss song.
“Carol Ann” starts out with a little acoustic and slide guitar courtesy of Ben Matthews and Luke Morley, but this mid tempo rocker has a gospel feel to it when you throw in a little piano and with the back up vocals and hand claps. With a solo perfect for all the air guitar players out there and a great chorus Thunder could have yet another classic on their hands.
“Candy Man” is not a cover of the Sammy Davis Jr. staple, but it is another great song that can easily stand and fit in with any number of songs in Thunder’s catalog. While I hate to beat a dead dog, for the life of me I can’t understand why Luke Morley does not get more respect as a guitarist, his playing on this song and album as a whole is excellent.
If there is one weak spot on “Bang!” it would be the ballads. Unfortunately when it comes to ballads by Thunder I always compare them to “Love Walked In” and “A Lover Not A Friend” which isn’t fair because those two songs are absolutely great songs. But there is one on “Bang!” that comes close to equaling those two, that being “Watching Over You” which seems to be a duet between Bowes and Morley and is another great performance.
“Miracle Man” covers a familiar topic, TV preachers trying to get people to save their souls by emptying out their pockets in the name of religion. While Bowes sounds angry when singing about the subject he still makes the song a great roll the windows down and sing along song.
Following in the foot steps of “Englishman on Holiday” comes “Turn Left at California”. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear this song covered by any number of country artists. It is almost a country song as it is with Thunder playing thanks to the banjo and harmonica used in the song. This is a great road trip song.
“Love Sucks”, “One Bullet”, and “Honey” finish out the album with “Honey” being the best of three as it is yet another song that can stand proudly with any of Thunder’s more recognizable songs.
Like I said earlier Thunder are not going to change the musical landscape with this album. But you are definitely going to get more “Bang!” for your buck with this album than a lot of the bands that are actually getting airplay these days.
You can hear samples of Bang! by clicking on the song titles below!
Danny Bowes – Lead Vocals
Luke Morley – Guitars & Vocals
Harry James – Drums & Percussion
Ben Matthews – Guitars & Keyboards
Chris Childs – Bass Guitar