Thunder – Please Remain Seated
The new album from British hard rockers Thunder contains twelve radically reworked re-recordings of songs from their 30 year career. The deluxe version in an orange sleeve adds seven further re-recordings on a bonus disc. The 12 regular album tracks are also available on black double vinyl and a splatter edition limited to 1000 copies available exclusively from Thunder’s own webstore.
The band re-imagined “Love Walked In” in 2017 – the same year as their ‘Rip It Up’ album went to #3 in the UK charts – something they then wanted to try on other songs. They set three rules for themselves – work fast, don’t aim for perfection, and make it different to the original – and then went on jamming ideas until finding arrangements that felt good. ‘Please Remain Seated’ turned out as a more quiet album, taking in influences from rock, blues, country, jazz and soul. It features additional musicians on half of the tracks and even a choir on one song.
I’m instantly reminded of what a great singer Danny Bowes still is, in the bluesy soulful way that is Paul Rodgers’ trademark. Just like the vocalist of Free and Bad Company, Bowes has a voice that seems to age with grace. Or hardly at all. Impressive! The album kicks of with a country twanging honky tonk in “Bigger Than Both Of Us” followed by the vaguely psychedelic ballad “Future Train” (originally on 1995’s “Behind Closed Doors”) before going jazz with “Girl’s Going Out Of Her Head”. An interesting mixture, and the latter miles away from the version released on the brilliant 1990 debut album “Backstreet Symphony”. I’ve personally listened mostly to those early 90’s records previously but there are songs from throughout their career to be found here.
“I’m Dreaming Again” from 2005’s “The Magnificent Seventh” is a bluesy ballad closer to what I’d expect from Thunder. It’s also a rendition that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Tesla’s classic live album “Five Man Acoustical Jam”. “Fly On The Wall” from ’95 is rendered as a slow funky blues with a slight reggae vibe. “Just Another Suicide” is a beautiful song with a female chorus that makes me think of southern rock in the vein of Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Allman Brothers Band while ’92’s “Empty City” is rendered as laid back blues. Quite nice! The southern vibe with organ and female backing vocals is picked back up for “Miracle Man”, lifted off the “Bang” album from 2008. 2003’s “Shooting at the Sun” album is represented by two of the lesser songs here: “Blown Away” is presented with bluesy harmonica, hand claps and piano while “Loser” is another slow blues. The album ends on a high note, however, as the hits “She’s So Fine” and “Low Life In High Places” from their first two albums are revisited for versions fairly true to Thunder’s own style.
As is usually the case with re-recordings, this is hardly an essential album but it does show a band at the top of their game in terms of performance. It’s a nice listen. Nothing more and nothing less.
Title: Please Remain Seated
Date of release: 2019-01-18
Stand out track: She’s So Fine