The 13th studio album from Thunder is called “All The Right Noises” – and it is certainly as described! Originally recorded in 2019 and early 2020, it was planned to have it shared with the world in September 2020, but the joys of the Covid pandemic meant it didn’t see the light of day until 12th March this year. But boy was it worth the wait!
All the songs on the album come from the pen of Luke Morley, and all have that old-school Thunder vibe to them – taking us back to the early days of the band and the classic blues-rock sound. It could be described as “Back Street Symphony” Part Two – it certainly has that feel to it, and I go so far as to say it is their best album since then, if not even bettering it.
The songs are as always perfectly crafted, and the band is on form throughout, all adding to the end result. But the end result is greater than the sum of its parts, with Morley adding his production talents to the mix as well.
From the get-go, the album sets out its intentions with the first single “Last One Out Turn Off The Lights”. It’s a song about Brexit, but not as you’d imagine. It’s a driving melody with heavy drums and intermittent guitars that sticks in the head longer than Boris’s promises. And it even has a Led-Zep riff thrown in for good measure. Up next is “Destruction”, which has a real blues vibe to it, and Danny Bowes has the voice to match – still one of the best voices in rock today. It is a dark song, about depression, and has a dark, heavy feel to it.
“The Smoking Gun” starts with a western tinge, and acoustic guitar a-plenty. An ode to Trump for sure – with the line “And we all let the devil in, ‘cos no-one believed he could win”. But don’t let that put you off – it is again a great piece of songwriting.
A triple-whammy heavy and direct start is followed by the second single “Going To Sin City” – a real rocking anthem that will surely be a fan favourite for years to come when we can all get back to going to gigs. Even when listening at home it takes you off to those days. “Don’t Forget To Live Before You Die” is a song with a message to not let life pass you by. It’s a slow and brooding song, with guitar riffs that wouldn’t be out of place on a Rainbow album. “I’ll Be The One” follows, and is a superb ballad – slow, and beautifully written, with a solo to rank among the best from Luke Morley. “Young Man” livens things up again with a thumping beat behind it which you can’t help to nod your head to. Third single “You’re Gonna Be My Girl” has a classic Stones feel and is really catchy. A little cheeky in the lyrics, as is Morley’s want from time to time, and with honky-tonk piano means this is going to be one to have crowds singing along. “St George’s Day” has gritty lyrics aimed at the nationalist vibes of immigration and lack of tolerance. A serious statement, but still tackled with that Thunder finesse. “Force Of Nature” takes us back to Mr Trump again, and looks into his mindset and ego. But don’t worry – it’s not a political rant, and again has that tinge of Morley humour. The album finishes with “She’s A Millionairess”, a lighter note to end on and a tongue-in-cheek look at certain young inherited-rich ladies.
The album was recorded at the famous Rockfield Studios, produced by Morley, recorded by Nick Brine and Chris Ramsey, mixed at The Warehouse in Vancouver by Mike Fraser and mastered by Ed Woods. It comes in a variety of formats including cassette, CD, deluxe double CD, double black vinyl, double blue/orange galaxy coloured vinyl and a deluxe 4 x LP version (2 x black, 2 x gold). The vinyl’s come in a gatefold sleeve with an amazing pop-up centre. The deluxe versions include 4 extra brand new tracks, plus 8 tracks from the album recorded live at Rockfield.
All in all, there are some great tunes, with some fantastic songwriting. The standout tracks are 1-6, and also 7-11. Yes, not a bad one here! Thirty-plus years in the business and Thunder show us they are at the top of their game.