Friday, August 31, 2007

Thunder Express – Republic Disgrace

I’ve missed their first record and was only able to get this one through a friend (thanks Lutz!) due to the lack of selection in Las Vegas record stores. But I’m happy I was finally able to own this!

Thunder Express can’t help sounding a bit like the current Hellacopters (Rock and Roll is Dead, as opposed to Supershitty to the Max) since their guitar slinger “Strings” (Robert Dahlqvist) leads this band as singer and guitarist. But this record also has moments that are reminiscent of Union Carbide Productions/Soundtrack of our Lives in places (TE used Soundtrack’s producer and SOOL singer Ebbot helps with the lyrics, as well), LA’s great Sacred Hearts (the original one led by Javier Escovedo) in others, as well as the Detroit/R’n’B influences of the 'Copters.

This CD opens with the title cut, a chord-riffer which could easily appear on any recent Hellacopters release though they are aided and abetted by soul singer Jaqee, which gives it a 70’s Stones influence. This style prevails in the entire record, but there are also tangents, such as the keyboard laden ballad, “Leaving With Ease”. In fact, though the band is rounded out by Robert Pehrsson (rhythm and lead guitar), Jens Lagergren (bass) and Jesper Karlsson (drums), there are plenty of additions of keyboards throughout.

“Switch” brings you back into the groove, as a dark, chord-driven warning that “it’s time to turn yourself around”. “Hellberg’s Lament” is an extremely short, Exile On Main Street-styled, blast of harmonica that leads into the equally Stones-y “Pick It Up”. Apparently, one record TE was trying to emulate with this release is Some Girls and this tune is one of the closest to that style, including more great backing vocals.

I’ve been trying to figure out the words to “Vegas”, as this and many of the songs on this CD are supposed to be about the last Hellacopters tour and they got food poisoning and were ripped off in our fine city! But, I don’t know whether the words are just a bit obscure or if I just don’t understand, but they don’t seem to be about anything very specific – just the general rigors of the road. But, it is a cool, slide-guitar rocker that starts out with “Damn you Vegas!”

“From Pleasure to Pain” is a fine rocker with a wild guitar outro. The final track, “Panic” is one of the moodiest cuts on this CD – it definitely has a Soundtrack feel with some good guitar licks intertwining around the melody.

Overall, while similar, don’t expect the next Hellacopters record, but this is a damn nice, 70’s-styled r’n’r record!

Check out the Thunder Express website here and plenty of videos here


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