Things weren’t looking good for Swedes Thundermother in 2017. The band lost eighty per cent of their members, leaving only founder member and guitarist Filippa Nassil. Rock’ n’ roll won’t die, though, and the six-stringer came back with their strongest line-up yet, adding singer Guernica Mancini, bass player Majsan Lindberg and Emlee Johansson on drums into the fold.
Thundermother – Heat Wave (Deluxe)
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Paul Monkhouse
Last year’s Heat Wave album was proof positive that the chemistry was better than ever, the collaborative writing binding Thundermother together in no uncertain way. Rammed full of anthems, the release saw them mix heads down, no-nonsense rockers with the odd power ballad in between the AC/DC-like riffing.
A joyously gonzoid boogie
Setting out their stall straight away, the thunderous Loud And Alive takes off like a rocket, its propulsive power and joyously gonzoid boogie showing that the band are firing on all cylinders. It’s as much a statement as anything, Thundermother declaring themselves back in no uncertain terms, despite the previous fallout that threatened to derail their forward momentum. The suitably glamtastic Back In ’76 adds touches of the Gods of Thunder, Kiss but throwing in the snarling street-tough attitude of The Runaways and Mexico delves more into the swaggering down and dirty blues of an amped-up Rolling Stones.
The band certainly are in thrall to the classic rock acts of the ’70s and ’80s, but not in a way that detracts from their commitment to rocking out, the quartet having their own distinct voice at the core of their welter of influences. Whilst other bands sound too uncomfortably like the sole artists they’re influenced by, the Swedes have brought in a virtual record collection to play with hints of Van Halen and even a shade of Deep Purple amongst others present.
Rather than the perpetual grind of the same song being played every track, the band bring light and shade, crafting something that demands to be listened to rather than just as background music while you’re doing the housework or driving mindlessly on your daily commute.
A huge amount of the success of Heat Wave is due to the astute choice of Glenn Hughes cohort Soren Andersen at the desk, his production bringing out the very best of the ladies. With their artillery of good time rock ‘n’ roll tunes, committed playing, and his guidance, the album is one full of not just great songwriting but one that hits all the right spots sonically.
Hard rock is meant to be fun, but what this combination realises is that it also needs to be built to last and sound great.
From the heads down barroom boogie of Dog From Hell and Driving In Style, the blues of Purple Sky to the delicate and beautiful ballad Sleep, there is more than enough variety here to truly highlight what the band are capable of. Throughout, the fretwork of Nassil is fiery and unstintingly thrilling, speaking of the driving force behind all Thundermother has achieved thus far, and in Mancini, they have found the perfect vocalist, her tone both bluesy and paint-strippingly gutsy.
With the non-stop locomotive of Lindberg and Johansson providing the engine, their own heavy-duty groove irresistible, it’s gratifying to know the band are more focussed and determined than ever, Heat Wave unquestionably hammering home this point.
Feral and adrenaline-fuelled fan favourites
Marketing gimmick or not, it can often be frustrating for the committed fan who’s already bought the original album to be presented with a deluxe album a little while later, bonus tracks luring them in to once again spend their hard-earned money. Fortunately, though, in this instance, the additional disc in this deluxe edition more than justifies its existence as rather than be a number of filler tracks that didn’t make the cut, the bonus songs here are a mix of acoustic and live tracks that stand well on their own.
As well as four additional numbers, all of which are worthy of being included on the album, Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven featuring Dregen and Pontius Snibb being particularly good, you also get three acoustic and another three live outings. The acoustic tracks shine above all else on the disc, stripping back the songs to let them breathe and highlighting Mancini’s smoky larynx perfectly, especially in Sleep, where she duets with Jesper Binzer of D-A-D.
With three feral and adrenaline-fuelled fan favourites recorded in concert, it all adds up to one great package and makes this deluxe Heat Wave a vital purchase, especially with their UK tour looming.
Thundermother are pure 100% rock ‘n’ roll.
Heat Wave (Deluxe) can be purchased from afm.fanlink.to/HeatWaveDeluxeEdition