Out February 10

(earMUSIC)

When Thunder opted to Rip It Up it’s fair to say many of their fans screamed why? 2014’s critically acclaimed Wonder Days had landed inside the UK’s top 10 and represented the most accomplished body of work the blues rockers had crafted in decades.

Why fix what ain’t broke?

It’s a fair question. However, songwriter Luke Morley’s reaction to Thunder’s creative and commercial resurgence was to start from scratch: to remove his band mates from their carefully constructed comfort zone and conjure up a record that ignored boundaries and laughed in the face of complacency.

It worked. Rip It Up is a record rich in tradition and yet it’s the sound of a band reinvigorated and ready to write the next chapter. From Morley’s wistful, multi-faceted guitar solo midway through opener No One Gets Out Alive (the tempo change is reminiscent of British blues rock’s golden generation) to the simmering, groove-laden slow-burner that is She Likes Cocaine, there are so many unexpected twists and thrilling turns.

Rip It Up is a rock and rollercoaster of a record. Danny Bowes’ trademark vocals provide the familiarity and consistency but Morley is a musician reborn. Seemingly inspired by Brighton’s sea air, the ambitious guitarist takes every opportunity to breathe new life into a band that had, with Wonder Days, already peaked. Or so it seemed.

Acoustic-led ballad Right From The Start might be from the same stable that produced Love Walked In et al but it stretches Bowes and Morley like never before – demanding an achingly rich vocal and fretwork that belies belief. The meaty outro is just mouthwatering.

Rip It Up? Thunder have done that, thrown it out of the window, picked up the pieces and put together something quite remarkable.