Thursday, February 8, 2018

Album Review: Thundermother - Thundermother

Truth: 2017 was the year of women, in all walks of society. We had the political backlash that resulted in the largest protests in America since the Vietnam War, "Wonder Woman" was a massive hit at the box office, and the women who called out the rampant sexism in our culture were named Person(s) Of The Year. Last year was powered and defined by women, so it's fitting that here in early 2018 we find ourselves talking about Thundermother, a band of ladies who take the spirit of AC/DC style rock and roll, and make sure we know they play it as well as anyone else.

The first think you notice about Thundermother, as "Revival" slowly builds up, is they have nailed the Young's guitar tone. It is not only quintessential rock and roll, but it's also as good as any tone that has ever been generated by an amp, so you earn big points right away for borrowing from the best. "Thundermother" sounds like a classic album, even before you listen to it, because they chose the right blueprint to follow.

When you dig a bit deeper, you find that avoiding comparisons to AC/DC is going to be nearly impossible. The way they build riffs from simple groups of notes, and punctuate them with ringing open chords, is straight from that playbook. It's also still as effective as any evolution rock and roll has undergone in the last four decades. "Revival" is a pure classic rock and roll track, and sets the stage effectively.

Thundermother isn't here to deliver anything fancy, or prettied up. Theirs is a no-frills style of rock and roll that doesn't bother with sweeteners or pop melodies. They go for the attack of making everything so blunt and in your face that you have no choice but to grasp every nuance, because there isn't any. Like a lot of those classics from back in the day, their music isn't what you would call catchy in the modern sense, but it drills down and does the job like a masonry bit cutting through a concrete wall of cynicism.

My pick for the best track here is the 'ballad' "Fire In The Rain", which uses the softer chords through the verses to not only build up for the guitar solo, but to showcase Guernica Mancini's vocals. Her voice is phenomenal, containing the perfect amount of grit to sound rough and tumble without being too harsh to carry the songs. And when you realize the entire record was cut live on the floor, the performances of the entire band become even more impressive. This record is raw rock, yes, but it's played so well you would never know they didn't spend months agonizing over every detail. I can only imagine how good they must be live, if this is an indication.

Sometimes I get lost as music from all corners come streaming in. It's easy to forget the power that old fashioned rock and roll possesses, but Thundermother is here to remind us. This new record is a pure distillation of the essence of rock and roll, and it's potent. I bend more toward the melodic side of the spectrum, but I can't deny that Thundermother's new lineup has delivered a heck of a classic rock and roll record. No frills, no gimmicks (and no Axl Rose), just ass kicking rock and roll. This simple recipe works.

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