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Thunder - Backstreet Symphony review


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Band: Thunder
Album: Backstreet Symphony
Release date: April 1990

01. She's So Fine
02. Dirty Love
03. Don't Wait For Me
04. Higher Ground
05. Until My Dying Day
06. Backstreet Symphony
07. Love Walked In
08. An Englishman On Holiday
09. Girl's Going Out Of Her Head
10. Gimme Some Lovin'
11. Distant Thunder [bonus]

Disc I [Japanese double CD with Live disc 1]
01. She's So Fine
02. Dirty Love
03. Don't Wait For Me
04. Higher Ground
05. Until My Dying Day
06. Backstreet Symphony
07. Love Walked In
08. An Englishman On Holiday
09. Girl's Going Out Of Her Head
10. Gimme Some Lovin'
11. Distant Thunder

Disc II [Japanese double CD with live disc 2]
01. Another Shot Of Love '89
02. Girl's Going Out Of Her Head '90
03. An Englishman On Holiday '90
04. Until My Dying Day '91
05. Fired Up '91
06. Dirty Love '90
07. She's So Fine '90
08. Backstreet Symphony '90
09. Higher Ground '91
10. Don't Wait for Me '90

Classic rock without the classic, Thunder are an oft overlooked band who upon release of their debut album Backstreet Symphonies looked to have the world at their feet. Taking the sound of 70's rock but not straying into generic territory, the band would make one hell of a first step and hit the ground running hard.

The band's driving force Morley knew his craft well, writing some of the best rock tunes this side of the 80's; while tipping his cap to his inspirations, he ensures not to step too close to copying those who came before him. Tracks like "Higher Ground" pay their due to the likes of Mott The Hoople through ZZ Top worshipping "Girl's Going Out Of Her Head" while "Don't Wait For Me" evokes Humble Pie. Taking pieces of these bands' sounds, Morley combines them into one wicked brew with his own sound to create what would become Backstreet Symphony.

Morley and Matthews are a solid guitar duo, creating some exciting riffs throughout and ensuring each one is given the space and position to best utilize each note. "Dirty Love" features a key change that raises the song to another level while throwing out licks to ensure the song goes out on a high note. Their talents are not confined to the electronic guitar, with the acoustic strings of "Love Walked In" showing a level of emotion and power that create an atmosphere perfect for putting your lighter in the air before building to a crescendo in the chorus.

The obvious element that helps elevate what are great songs into classics is the vocal work of Bowes, easily one of the most underrated vocalists in rock music; strong and emotive, his voice is fully utilized on the album and is the cherry on top of a well-built cake. Wringing all the emotion he can out of each word on "Don't Wait For Me" before leading you on a feel-good rocker in "An Englishman On Holiday", he is able to sound down to earth while shaking the ground through the strength of his voice.

Of course none of these things mean a thing if the songs aren't there as a result of these things, and this is what Backstreet Symphonies has in spades; each song is a solid track and earns its spot on what has to be one of the strongest rock albums of the 90's. Among these solid tracks are classics "Dirty Love" (which goes perfect with a cold beer), "Backstreet Symphony", "Higher Ground" and the minor hit ballad "Love Walked In", all of which are a welcome entry on any rock playlist. Put the album on randomizer and whichever track comes on, you will have a strong song that is full of character and creativity.

The production for the most part is a success, balancing each element of the band to perfection, allowing each instrument to shine and not stand on each other's feet, ably moving between soulful sections before cranking up the volume with neither section being the lesser partner in this juggling act (see "Until My Dying Day" for a great example of this). However, the only change I would make is up the volume while keeping the balance as it is; it does sound a little quiet and restrained where it could stand loud and proud.

If this album is so good and flawless, why have you not heard of it then? Well through no fault of its own, Backstreet Symphony isn't put atop the pedestal it deserves because Thunder were not able to fully capitalize on the momentum generated by the album, with each successive album proving to be captive to the law of diminishing returns (though I would highly recommend giving Laughing On Judgement Day a listen), and as a result the hype behind this album mostly evaporated beyond those who were already under its spell.

If you are done reading my fawning for this album look it up and give it a listen, I'm sure you won't be disappointed even if your level of admiration doesn't match mine.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9

Written on 12.08.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 1   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 11 users
15.08.2020 - 00:18
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
I have heard this one, long ago a d in not so distant future i will listen it Again.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing

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