Review by Ritchie Birnie for MPM
Album six in the Thunder catalogue was Shooting at the Sun which was released four years after the previous album and three years after the band had split up. The reunion and this release came off the back the monsters of rock tour with Alice Cooper.
Danny was not on board for a full time reunion and an album but once they got together again they recorded and released what is now a very rare EP entitled “Back for the Crack” which sold out in three days and was probably the reason that this album ever happened as the three songs included on the EP made it to the album.
I can still remember my excitement of the news the boys were back, a new album was to be released and the first solo gig would be in my hometown of Glasgow. As is always the same on a reunion you are very nervous that the old groove would be back but one listen to it settled all my nerves and listening again after some time it is clearly evident just how good this release is.
I had an idea this was going to be a belter as the first track and first single “Loser” is Thunder gold and still a heavyweight in set lists to this day. A balls out rocker with Luke’s demons on display with the lyrics.
Second track “Everybody’s Laughing” takes us on a different route with its eclectic guitar flicks but it has the Thunder tongue in cheek humour and good times written all over it.
Track three and time for the acoustic and Danny already on “If I Can’t Feel Love” but boy this was great to hear these two on form again after the break. The charisma in this band was always top notch and they all worked so well together and if you ever met them you know they just gel so much.
Chris Childs busts out the bass moves on the opening of the title track and this is the smoky jazz club Thunder feel that works so well. This is Thunder turning back the years and syphoning the magic from those early albums.
“The Pimp and the Whore” is not a title you would expect from the boys but the track is. This harks back to how unbelievable the band found the LA scene in the 90s. There is a hidden hair metal god hiding inside this song. As dodgy as the guys dress sense was thank the Gods they never made it to Lycra.
“A Lover, Not a Friend” will have so many thunder songs floating through your heads. This has the formula tied down. One of Luke’s many sad luck love stories with a huge dose of reality and final realisation. The guitar work is incredible and Luke really lets rip.
Time to get out your yeehaws out on “Shake the Tree”. Upbeat acoustic, attitude and Danny carrying us through in style to the awesome breakdown. This is the toe tapper, the thigh basher, the head banging bitch that Thunder throw up every album. I hadn’t heard this track in years and it came home like a long lost friend.
It is time for a rhythm fest on “Somebody Get Me a Spin Doctor” which is one of Luke’s infamous political takes and when you look at some of the social commentaries he has written over the years you know he pulls out all the stops especially with being able to fit in such a long title.
“The Man Inside” is not only a beautiful song it was a foreshadowing of what was to come as we find Luke co writing this one with Peter Shoulder who he would go onto work with in The Union and who would become a very good friend of the band. A song so good a whole new project was spawned from it.
“Out of my Head” is one of those rocked up bluesy songs that the band pull off even when they go on almost swing mode in the chorus. There are so many elements thrown into the one song and where this may not have stuck on the last couple of albums this one works perfectly.
Final track “Blown away” is a softer farewell. It leaves on the effective simplicities that Thunder perfected. The acoustic, Danny and some stunning percussion. Another beautifully sounding album that Luke never gets enough kudos for on his production. The breakdown will take you back to that barnstorming debut.
Time now for the bonus tracks and as much as I have loved every single one of these I always wondered what was missing and it finally dawned on me…we don’t get the Danny patter and as audio only we do not get the dad dancing (oh how I miss that).
What we do get though is four cracking songs from a brilliant album. Opener “Everybody’s Laughing” really captures the thunder live experience, the backing singers, Danny’s perfect vocals and keys to the fore.
“Loser” is track two and you really get to hear that London crowd on fire. It also sees Danny doing a little take on what used to be a huge highlight of the set in the beginning and the build up to “Dirty Love” all those years ago. This is one of the best sounding tracks in the whole bonus series and it gives you a little idea just how good the song is.
Tracks three and four are “Somebody Get me a Spin Doctor” and “The Pimp and the Whore” and these focus on the fun element of every Thunder show. It is not just a musical event, it is a coming together of friends and things are going to get messy.
I have loved these reissues. The main albums are the highway on the journey Thunder have been on and the stops have been the bonus tracks that gives you a little insight into the glue that kept the band together and kept the fans turning up. Those live shows are what cemented the band in so many people minds and lives and why we all came back after eight years of nothing after 2008s Bang.
Shooting At The Sun
- Everybody’s Laughing
- If I Can’t Feel Love
- Shooting at the Sun
- The Pimp and the Whore
- A Lover, Not a Friend
- Shake the Tree
- Somebody Get Me a Spin Doctor
- The Man Inside
- Out of My Head
- Blown Away
- Everybody’s Laughing (Live at Rock City,
- Loser (Live at Shepherds Bush Empire, 2005)*
- Somebody Get Me a Spin Doctor (Live at Marquee London, 2002)*
- The Pimp and the Whore (Live at Rock City
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