Thunderlip Thunderlip

[Lucid; 2005]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: cockrock, early metal, biker bars, fistfight (puncht in the heart tattoo)
Others: Judas Priest, Les Savy Fav, The 90 Day Men, The Darkness, Jet

Strip it down -- I'm all for it! Holler a phrase for chorus and make that the song-title. Or the other way around, if it works that way. Have some asshole guitar solos ripped out of the book of Slash, and be sure to wield cockrock clichés as though it didn't come across like pure iconography. These guys wield yet another press release claiming that they're the saviors of rock and roll music. They sure as fuck kick out the Motorhead-style jams at full tilt. While "Viking Love Song" along with a few other numbers, contain solo runs that are pure unadulterated rock fun, Thunderlip really isn't doing anything that memorable.

Maybe where they live they've got their own thing going, but having listened to and read about every possible true-return-to-form rock group, I've found it's frequently just some folks blowing off some steam (pick your Load Records band). Or, as is the case here, some unapologetic nostalgia for purposefully naive musical forms previously established and, I'd argue, somewhat exhausted. The Collisions have nothing on these guys. Gosling's a little more interesting. Never heard of those bands? Okay. A more well-known trend is sort of happening with bands like The Kills, Queens of the Stone Age, and White Stripes. They ain't ruling the airwaves, but they oughta be, instead of all this corporate sheen rock and hip-hop. And Thunderlip deserves to be right in there. Like The Foo Fighters with some balls, these guys remove sensitivity or thoughtfulness right out of the rock equation. A simple band to recommend, their lyrics obviously cribbed from whatever Motley Crew-era slogans have stuck in their heads, Thunderlip have no secret weapon. Some real sort of fetishistic attitude about rock's past makes you seem more like nitpicking archivists than a rock band.

Mooney Suzuki is an awesome band, but will never revolutionize the genre or find a wider audience than wistful, next generation mods. They're working from a different movement than these dudes, but they are both seeming to treat "unapologetic" as though it were an aesthetic on its own. Naturally, nobody wants an apologist. We want a product whose creators took every pain to make exactly how they wanted it. So, while that is the case here, one can't deny that something making the group truly stand out is missing. They've got a finely honed metal/bar band onslaught that does what it does well. But don't defend your dumb lyrics with "we don't give a fuck" or some such sentiment. They're dumb. They were in the late '80s. The punk piece to this puzzle (which their press release suggests is there in spirit) is not even vaguely apparent. There's a Death From Above 1979 kind of charge, but that kind of thing sounds like pure "Ace of Spades" to these ears. Just pick this up if you're in need of another no-frills cockrock tribute band. Or, you could buy Heartless Bastards instead. There aren't enough female rock singers that can do it right, so as basic as their rock formula may be, it stands out considerably well because of this simple fact. That's all Thunderlip really needs. Something to convince me they aren't merely a set-piece out of some Hellbent for Leather wax museum.

Fun as a nostalgia trip can be, I think it's high time we redefine our accepted criteria for what constitutes rock and roll heroics. This record's great, but I'm still thinking: Why bother with all these purists when we can go back to high points of this sort of music whenever we choose? Bar bands must have a blast playing out, but when they get in the studio, what was just blowing off steam becomes something you want folks to spend money on. So I'd recommend you get some ideas rather than just focusing on being "killer" or some such I-don't-wanna-think-wheres-my-pack-of-cigarettes-girlfriend-sixpack-hoot-hoot-holler-holler sentiment. I thought having an original idea was why people made albums, not just cause they want to rub corpse leather on their crotchsweat and spit bottled water on drunk people. Fun isn't simply what we did yesterday. It's what we make of present or future potential. The savior of rock and roll will be the one who redefines it, so bands like Thunderlip won't continue regurgitating the same old criteria. I saw the "Breaking The Law" video the other day. It was great. But in many respects this rock and roll revival trend's not pining; it's stone dead.

1. Bad Day on the High Seas
2. Meat the Snake
3. Leather Forever
4. Fire in the Hole
5. Viking Love Song
6. Evil on Two Legs
7. No Time for Love
8. Gonna Die for My Rock and Roll
9. Untitled (as of yet)
10. Damnation
11. Skeletons Tonight
12. Dead Horse Blues
13. Sons of Thunder