An impression of an album starts well before the sound hits your eardrums; preconceptions are created by such things as the band name, album title and press release.
And if this was all I had to go on, I wouldn’t have much to say about Thunderbird Motel especially if you read the attached notes, they seem to have referenced every rock band from history including The Who, Bad Company, Lynryd Skynyrd through to GnR and AC/DC. So according to them we are looking at a Mod rocking, Blue based southern rock from 80’s LA with some heavy antipodean attitude, quite a feat, and sadly it’s not the case.
What you do get is a heady dose of reality fused with a gritty lo-fi sound that oozing with melodic rhythms and stands on its own without the need for any big named references. If I was to make any references, it would be to an old favourite of mine, the Chicago Doom makers, Trouble.
It’s the sum of the parts on this album that makes it special, everything seems to click on tracks like ‘BlackEye’ and ‘Evil Heart’ with the realism in the lyrics matched by some seriously heady backing tracks, even the semi monologue of ‘Borrowed Time’ seems to work even if it does lend a little too much to the Devil came to Georgia!
The album rattles through a series of tough living tracks raised on hard living, women trouble and the ultimate self destruction of a modern lifestyle with tracks like ‘Hellraiser’, ‘Love & Rockets’ and ‘Red Dress’. As an almost acknowledgment to this, the album signs of with S.W.T.A or Sleeping with the Angels.
I didn’t much like the album title, it seemed to appeal to too many rock stereotypes until you find out that the title is based on actual events when the band where on the road and had to carry their equipment to a gig. This epitomises the Thunderbird Motel sound, honest hard rocking souls doing what comes naturally and it’s this appeals.
In future I won’t allow any preconceptions to misguide me because I might have missed a decent album by a damn fine rock band.
SUN ROAD Out now