Thunder - Rip It Up

Thunder Rip It Up cover
Thunder
Rip It Up
earMusic
2017
8
Average: 5.6 (87 votes)
Thunder is a band that should be treasured… despite their ups and downs and their non-so permanent splits – that ended up being more like 2 years away from each other, the Brits continue to be one of the better bands in classic rock to have come out of the “Isles” in recent history. Maintaining the same lineup for almost two decades, even with the splits downtime is might impressive and a testament to their chemistry, a chemistry that’s both unmistakable and vibrant as even on the band’s eleventh effort “Rip It Up”, surprisingly quite punchy, but also melodic as ever, the album feels both mature and almost timeless, feeling very a-live and spontaneous even if it’s a studio recording…
 
Danny Bowes is one of the better voices that Britain ever had, soulful, bluesy, with a beautiful timbre. Luke Morley is a mean rocking guitarist that’s got the rare gift of soul in his soloing being able to make it “sing”, and Ben Matthews is a perfect partner for him in the scheme of things, as for misters Childs and James, they almost sound inseparable when they must but playful enough to underpin the music with the right amount of swagger. It feels exactly as someone took the young whippersnappers, who recorded “Backstreet Symphony” that were already excellent musicians and just dumped upon them 30 odd years off accumulated experience, which is exactly what happened, but they still can cause almost the same amount of excitement as they could back then…
 
“No One Gets out Alive” feels lively and means business with a jumpy riff and a go for it attitude… that also bears all the Thunder sound trademarks…
 
“Tumbling Down” grooves and makes things a shade more blue, but without losing the electricity and without becoming a ballad, managing to dwell on a very specific threshold that makes it quite irresistible and when Morley solos…. OMG.
 
“There’s Always a Loser” feels like a somewhat sarcastic view on human relations and the competition we put ourselves in and prior to its electric portion, feels a bit too Elton John inspired, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing… but one that solo begins again, it makes you appreciate the feel and form and not merely the technique…
 
“Rip It Up” has some mean intro and a heavy riff and it’s a lot heavier than usual Thunder fare, but that’s again not a bad thing… it actually keeps things fresh and urgent feisty…
 
“She Loves the Cocaine” is a bit obscene, but true to life; I suppose a little different but the way in which it applies the Thunder sound, really works… the chemistry we were talking about…
 
“Right from the Start” is a ballad that almost breaks the 4th wall on its first verse, only to become a proper love song straight away, with Bowes, despite having lost a bit of his “youthful” more bright top, still sounding perfect and really not worse for wear the mark of a real vessel of the art and not just a singer… in a way similar to how Freddie Mercury became every word he sung… even some of the phrasing, here and there has and owes maybe a bit to the late Queen frontman. Superb and I needn’t even say a thing about the solo…
 
“Shakedown” is that cowbell that I hear? Yeah, more of it please… funky, different, refreshing, and it explodes after the verse in a massive way. YAY!
 
“Heartbreak Hurricane” feels almost like the tempest of a storm and has such a captivating melody that sucks you in and hardly lets you go before the end…
 
“In Another Life” has a hazy jazzy feel and a smokey bluesy sound that go very well together… simple but magical.
 
“The Chosen One” is unexpectedly funky, almost bordering on aggressive at times and a little odd, but certainly gets your attention in that way…
 
Lastly, “The Enemy Inside” is quite anthemic, with a riff like a mountainside, or a mountainslide? I’m not sure, but it’s a nice pun, so I’ll keep it… haha. It concludes the “normal album”, which is augmented by a live set at the famous 100 club and the “Broken Mirror” EP that makes the “deluxe 3 disk edition”, the one to get, without it meaning that the album on its own isn’t one of the best Thunder have delivered since their reunion. Wow…

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