On their Facebook page, Sweden-based, multi-national band Thundermother lists Janis Joplin and AC/DC as “artists they like”, which might seem like a somewhat odd combo. That is, until you hear the band lay into the first track on their album Rock ‘n’ Roll Disaster – the hellaciously boozy and bluesy “Man With Blues” – because as soon as you hear that, the Joplin and AC/DC thing makes total sense.
The music here is no-bull, kick-your-ass, rattle-your-ribs, bang-your-head, guitar-powered, AC/DC-ish hard rock, lit up by the band’s infectiously boisterous energy. And in the midst of all this musical guts, sweat and glory is the fiery presence of Irish-born and bred singer Clare Cunningham – blessed with a voice that has a throaty smokiness reminiscent of a rougher and rowdier Sass Jordan – giving the tunes an added emotional, Joplin-esque kick.
Thundermother does not mess around. True to the band’s name, they have some awesome flash and power, provided by the dual guitar engine of Filippa Nässil and Giorgia Carteri, and the sound is anchored by the rock-solid rhythm section, with bassist Linda Ström and drummer Tilda Stenqvist giving the tunes the earthy, bone-rumbling weight they need.
The band tears through the ten tracks on “Rock ‘n’ Roll Disaster” firing on all cylinders, throwing down several standout tunes along the way. There’s the blues-stomping, hard-rocking, crazy energy of “Deranged”, and the headbanging glory of the title-track “Rock’n’Roll Disaster” (definitely one of my faves) with the guitars just ripping and roaring throughout.
Another keeper is the heavy-thumping, riff-powered “Thunderous”, which more than lives up to its title; while “Please Me” is one heck of a fun-ride – streaking down the highway with a fierce, speedy guitar attack that is enough to leave you gasping for more. Thundermother really hits the rock’n’roll jackpot with “Shoot To Kill” – an irresistibly hooky, blistering rocker with a killer chorus, and with Cunningham flaunting every ounce of power and passion in her voice.
Another one of my favourites is “One For The Road” which starts off slow, with Cunningham’s voice all stripped bare, full of smouldering, smoky heat; and then once the guitars are unleashed, they come on strong with bruising force and fire. I just love the combination of the intensity of the vocals, and the hard-rocking muscle and ferocity of the music.
You could argue, quite convincingly I think, that AC/DC is the most influential rock band of the last 20 to 30 years, at least if you were to base it on how many bands all over the world have been influenced by the Aussie rockers’ ballsy, brawny, stripped-down sound. Of course there are reasons for that, and one reason is that this kind of riff-heavy, straight-to-your-nether-regions hard-rock is a hell of a lot of fun: something Thundermother convincingly demonstrates on Rock ‘n’ Roll Disaster.
Thundermother’s sound is still rough around the edges, but it’s a pleasant roughness that makes this album crackle with a raw and irrepressible rock’n’roll energy. I can’t wait to see where this band goes from here.
- Man With Blues
- The Dangerous Kind
- Rock’n’Roll Disaster
- Please Me
- Shoot To Kill
- One For The Road
- VOCALS: Clare Cunningham,
- LEAD GUITAR: Filippa Nässil,
- RYTHM GUITAR: Giorgia Carteri
- BASS: Linda Ström
- DRUMS: Tilda Stenqvist