I’ve always had a soft spot for Thunder. From the days when a friend and myself followed them on their Back Street Symphony tour and hanging out after gigs, to saying our farewells at the Town & Country Club where in just a couple of weeks time, Thunder would shake the rock world with one of the best performances Donnington has ever seen. Would they remember us? I’d like to think so, but so much has happened since then its understandable if not.
‘Dopamine ‘ consists of sixteen tracks, dwindled down from twenty. A first double album for Thunder. Guitarist Luke Morley said: “We didn’t set out to make a double album but as the writing and recording process went on we wandered into some interesting areas and then it became a case of ‘can we afford to leave any of this off?’ In the end we did reduce it from 20 tunes to 16 but it wasn’t an easy choice.”
It’s easy to understand why Luke said what he did. Each track is pure Thunder gold. ‘The Western Sky ‘ boasts a beautifully catchy chorus, and is typical of how this band write and perform, where ‘One Day we’ll Be Free Again ‘ bursts into life in typical Thunder fashion after around two minutes. I’m loving the female backing-vocals.
The first two tracks shows us a rejuvenated band, full of new ideas yet keeping the formulas that have put them where they are today. ‘Even If It Takes A Lifetime ‘ slows the early tempo down to an almost Western trot. Lazy, un-caring, but a thought provoking tune that allows the mind to drift away to a happy place.
Talking of thought provoking tunes, check out ‘Unravelling ‘. This is the ballad track of CD1 for me. The verse boasts a beautiful, yet unexpected minor chord, followed by a chorus that will have all the ladies swooning once again for Luke and Dan. ‘The Dead City ‘ and it’s foot-tapping rhythm speeds things up again before ‘Last Orders ‘ shows off it’s almost ‘funky’ beat thing. Not your average Thunder song but works nevertheless. CD one finishes with ‘All The Way ‘. This reminds me of Led Zeppelin‘s ‘Black Dog ‘.
CD2 has a lot to live up to if I’m being honest but ‘Dancing In The Sunshine ‘ hinders any doubts that the historical CD2 of an album is never quite as good as the first. ‘Across The Nation ‘ is the latest single from the album after ‘The Western Sky ‘, and is another typical floor bouncer that we are accustomed to with this bunch of lads. Thunder have always thrown in unexpected chords changes in their verses and ‘Across The Nation ‘ is another example of this successful template.
Imagine mixing a jar of Paris and Thunder and shaking it as hard as you can and then pouring it. Well, that’s ‘Just A Grifter ‘ all over. Just take my word for it. Probably the heaviest track out of the lot would be ‘Disconnected ‘ . Nice harmony dual vocals in the verse.
As we enter the final furlong, it seems the lads have saved one of the best until last. ‘Is Anybody Out There ‘ mirrors millions of peoples thoughts and feelings during the Covid lockdown. After all, ‘ Dopamine ’ was inspired by the world’s mass retreat to social media during the pandemic. Beautiful track.
We finish with ‘No Smoke Without Fire ‘. Another slow burner but the perfect end to what I feel is the perfect album. I can guarantee that this album will be more appreciated every time I listen to it. It’s that good. For me, it’s the best thing since ‘Back Street Symphony ‘ in it’s creation and delivery, but one thing the band does have over ‘Symphony ‘ for this album is experience and it shines through. Wonderful album.
Pre order this amazing new album HERE.
The Western Sky / One Day We’ll Be Free Again / Even If It Takes a Lifetime / Black / Unraveling / The Dead City / Last Orders / All the Way
Dancing in the Sunshine / Big Pink Supermoon / Across the Nation / Just a Grifter
I Don’t Believe the World / Disconnected / Is Anybody Out There? / No Smoke Without Fire
- £13.99 (CD)