Review by: Alan Holloway
Thunder are one of those bands that have been happy to suffer from ‘Status Quo Syndrome’, whereby you officially give up, do a few gigs, do a few support tours then say ‘sod it’ and release an album (or in Quo’s case, a few hundred). It’s been six years since we last heard from Thunder, with the impressive but not over exciting ‘Bang!’ album, and there’s sure to be plenty of people out there excited to find out if they’ve kept hold of that old Thunder magic.
From the start, as the title track rolls in with a ballsy guitar riff, it’s clear that this is a Thunder album. There’s powerful hard rock mixed with soulful blues throughout, with a solid handful of pop melodies poking their heads round the corner when needed. There’s a bit of shameless borrowing, most noticeable in ‘The Prophet’ which is Heart’s ‘Barracuda’ in a wig, and the ghost of Led Zeppelin also haunts a few tracks. What it does have in spades is the ‘oomph’ that traditionally runs through a good Thunder album, a sense of uplifting joy that cpmes from the combination of big ass guitars and arguably the best soul/blues/rock voice around. Yes, a Thunder review always has to mention Danny Bowes’ vocals, which are as good as they ever have been, thankfully.
The burning question is always how does it compare to other releases, with ‘Wonder Days’ being touted in some quarters as the band’s best since the debut all those years ago. To be honest, ‘Backstreet Symphony’ is still head and shoulders above anything else they’ve done (please get Andy Taylor back behind the desk, boys), with ‘Laughing On Judgement Day’ a perennial second. ‘Wonder Days’ sits comfortably amongst the other seven studio releases, in a position that will depend on what mood the listener is in. In fairness, Thunder have never, for me, released a bad album, and ‘Wonder Days’ will certainly please fans. It’s of those that improves the more you listen to it, with the title of ‘favourite track’ flitting around like a hyperactive sparrow, and fans will certainly be filled with wonder.