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Music Review: Thunder – Bang!

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I'm so old that I recall not just Thunder precursors Terraplane, but Terraplane precursors Nuthin' Fancy. Fortunately, unlike me, Thunder mainstays Danny Bowes and Luke Morley just seem to get better and better with the passing of time.

Readers outside the UK might not realise the place that Thunder hold in the hearts of British rock fans, but since the band returned from a brief hiatus in 2002, they've filled the role of best loved British rock band with a series of fine albums and, more importantly, fabulous live shows.

For those who don't know Thunder released their debut Back Street Symphony way back in 1990, and had a string of British hit singles and albums right through the nineties. With Luke Morleys writing allied to the amazing voice of Danny Bowes they've specialised in a blues-rock brand of music which was hugely unfashionable then (and now), following in the traditions of bands like Bad Company.

This is their ninth studio album, following on the heels of the excellent Robert Johnson's Tombstone release of 2006 and sees them, thankfully, sticking to what the do best. Right from the opening track, "On The Radio"', they hit the mark, with a punchy, rocking diatribe against the radio stations and TV channels that have resolutely ignored them over the years. I think it's safe to say that the plethora of swearing will ensure this one misses as well!

They take a look at Hurricane Katrina on "Stormwater", show how a power ballad should be done on "Retribution", and revisit the scene of many a rock band crime on the harmonica enhanced, bluesy, "Have Mercy". Although they do it without resorting to the direct approach Motorhead took on "Jailbait"! There's plenty of tunes that will get the fans clapping and stomping along to on their regular UK tours with "Candy Man" a dead cert for a live outing. After all, you can never have too many "na-na-na's".

Actually, all the ballads are top notch with "Watching Over You" and the acoustic "One Bullet" almost on a par with the aforementioned "Retribution". They show that they still know how to turn up the amps on "Miracle Man" before taking a left turn into the world of US west coast rock on the rootsy, um, "Turn Left at California" before the album goes crashing out on another big rocker, "Honey".

Thunder are one of the great classic rock bands, who've been sadly undervalued throughout their career, despite never having made a bad album. Bang! one stands up as one of their best, so if you've never given them a chance before, this is as good as it gets. If you're already a fan, then this one will have you in raptures.

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About Stuart A Hamilton