Thunder’s All The Right Noises: enraged, engaged and thoroughly energised
Thunder’s thirteenth album All The Right Noises is an effortless masterclass in rock’n’roll light and shade
Well, if there’s one thing you can say for definite about Thunder’s thirteenth studio album, it’s that the roll continues.
Having returned to the fray with 2015’s triumphant Wonder Days, Luke Morley, Danny Bowes and co. seem to be mining an endlessly generous seam of rock’n’roll gold.
Given the events of the past year or so, this is precisely the kind of thing that hits the spot – top-drawer tunes and no-nonsense, full-throttle delivery, with chief writer Morley clearly fuelled by anger and frustration, but still finding inspiration to lighten the mood with some cheery, upbeat rockers.
If you’re going to tackle serious stuff then you might as well go big straight from the off. Here it’s with the urgent and driven Last One Out Turn Off The Lights, putting the boot into Brexit, followed directly by possibly the heaviest song the band have ever written, Destruction, about mental illness and depression, and then we have The Smoking Gun, a low-key acoustic number smouldering with righteous fury.
It’s quite a triple whammy to kick off the album with, and the dark mood is echoed on Force Of Nature, focusing on Donald Trump and what must have gone through his mind as he rose to power, the brooding Don’t Forget To Live Before You Die (carpe diem, baby), and St George’s Day, which, dissects immigration and intolerance.
Fortunately the heavy stuff is expertly balanced by some wonderfully carefree feel-good rockers. Going To Sin City, where ‘bad girls and pretty boys strut their stuff’, is a gloriously low-slung stomper. She’s A Millionairess is a bright and breezy piss-taking rocker (‘She can’t be too blond and she can’t be too thin’). Young Man is propelled by an infectiously bouncy riff.
The strutting, cheeky You’re Gonna Be My Girl is decorated with honky-tonk piano and has a middle section surely designed for crowd participation for when such things can happen again. And sitting in the middle of it all is I’ll Be The One, one of the finest ballads the band have ever written, featuring a rather ace Morley guitar solo.
Honest, consistent and uncompromising, All The Right Noises is quite the classy tour de force of songwriting prowess and pacy execution, with Thunder sounding enraged, engaged and thoroughly energised throughout. Which is just what we need right now.