In far 1975 The Runaways, unwittingly, have proved to the world that girls can also rock ‘n’ roll. In 2020 Sweden all-female band Thundermother ambitiously states: “Thundermother don’t just play rock ‘n’ roll. Thundermother are rock ‘n’ roll!” and release their fourth album Heat Wave as a proof of their ambitions.
The band was founded in 2009 by guitarist and songwriter Filippa Nässil. She also wrote the material for two first albums: Rock ‘N’ Roll Disaster (2014) and Roadfever (2015). In 2017 the line-up was completely changed and Guernica Mancini (vocals), Majsan Lindberg (bass) and Emlee Johansson (drums) joined the band. With this line-up the band’s self-titled album was released in 2018 and Thundermother started to work on their next album Heat Wave with Dutch producer Soren Andersen.
The band’s new album is perky and rhythmical, like it should be. 12 songs combine Hard Rock, Rock-‘n’-roll and some Heavy Metal. The ballad “Sleep” stands alone and I’ll talk about it later.
From the very first song it’s clear, with whom the girls were inspired when they wrote Heat Wave: AC/DC, Mötorhead, Joan Jett and lots of 80s bands like Def Leppard. At the same time there is a place for some variety: the chorus of “Somebody Love Me” reminds Skate Punk a little bit, while “Mexico” sounds like a hard, smooth Blues Rock. Leisurely “Purple Sky” aspires to the same with its wah-wah guitar, keyboards solo and improvisation from every band’s member. And the ending “Bad Habits” reminds W.A.S.P. in its lightened version.
There is enough of drive and speed in this album. “Into The Mud” is typical Mötorhead but without Lemmy’s raspy voice and dirty sound, but with some pretty good bass bridge. And fast pace with classic Heavy Metal riff and some rawness in Guernica’s vocals turn “Driving In Style” into one of the catchiest songs, full of drive.
Nevertheless, the girls haven’t avoid some trite and clichés on their music, which is really big problem. Some clichés sound really obviously that you think inadvertently: “Really? Seriously?” Like the guitar intro in “Dog From Hell”, for example, reminds some Lynyrd Skynyrd, joined by drums and bass it turns to AC/DC and there is no mistake; I’m not talking about plagiarism, no! It’s just clichés. In its turn, “Back To ’76” is pretty similar to famous Joan Jett‘s “I Love Rock N’ Roll” by its structure – it’s also not a plagiarism but you can hear something definitely familiar. And finally, the aforementioned ballad “Sleep” is so formulaic that you can expect to hear it not in such record but somewhere on MTV in the beginning of 2000s, performed by P!nk.
All of this plays against this drivy and perky album. Because if some little worm of doubt called “I heard this already somewhere” will come to your head even for a second and will start to nibble you from the inside (and it will!), you will lose all the joy from this music. Of course, this can be argued with “Rock-‘n’-roll is quite simple music, the main thing there is drive and in general everything in this genre was invented and played long time ago” – maybe! But Thundermother‘s countrymen Honeymoon Disease in some magical way manage to play Rock-‘n’-roll without trite and play it good.
In the end I want to refer one more time to the band’s ambitious statement. Do Thundermother play Rock-‘n’-roll? Yes, absolutely. Are they rock ‘n’ roll? I don’t know and to be honest I don’t want to answer this question. It’ll be better if everyone will decide this for himself.
Heat Wave will be released on July, 31 via AFM Records.
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