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Thunderclap: Inebriocean

Given its title, you might think that Inebriocean is a booze-inspired dream, one in which the alcohol never stops flowing and everyone has a good time. Although this album is certainly invested in alcohol, it is less Dionysian than it might seem. Even if the “ocean” half of the title suggests abundance, there’s no denying that the first half clearly suggests drunkenness, perhaps even the ways it can take you places you don’t necessarily want to go. Put another way, at the heart of this album is a meditation on what it’s like to lose control and to fall, powerless, into something as dark and churning as the sea. If that sounds too despairing�"and there are plenty of really dark moments here�"Thunderclap refuses to leave things as cold and as sad as they might have. Whereas some bands might revel in sadness, Thunderclap somehow manages to find a hopeful note within all the images of falling, crashing, or drowning they employ. Maybe that hope lies in the band’s creative energy, their relentless forward motion, or in the ways the lyrics try to focus more on the struggle than the surrender.

If I’m sounding too analytical, blame it on the band. Thunderclap has long understood their music in terms of poetic possibilities. After all, they were putting Ale Gasso’s poetry to music a few years before she joined the band. Now that she’s actively writing Thunderclap’s lyrics, they can rightly claim that their project combines poetry and music in ways that go beyond other bands. On the track “Low End,” for example, you can hear the lines “The shadows we harbor / A touch of the wicked” repeated several times. Unlike songs where a simple line gets repeated ad nauseum, these lines highlight the ways human beings never quite free themselves from their own demons. I’m not sure where this album will take you, but it got me thinking about Jack Torrance from Stephen King’s The Shining because there’s a guy who understood how badly he wanted to drink while also wanting to be sober for the sake of his wife and his son. In Jack’s case, the drowning pulled him into despair and violence and death. But as Stephen King has long pointed out, there is hope in that novel, just as there’s hope on this album.

I mentioned that Ale Gasso writes poetry. I’ve only read a few pieces online, but I’m already impressed with their honesty and their insight into how weird human motivation can be. At least one of Gasso’s collections observes the range of human behavior in the kinds of bars that an up and coming band might call home. With her bandmates Todd Rockhill and Danny Welch, Gasso continues to write about the tugs and pulls of human action in ways that gives Thunderclap that extra edge.

Musically, the band is a nice combination of doom metal, classic rock, Southern groove, and chuggy shoegaze. The music has a familiar ring to it, but it is often surprising, dark, and inspiring. My favorite track, “Low End,” has a memorable middle section that builds into something quite powerful. I’ve listened to it a dozen times over the last few days. I also loved “Capsized,” “47,” and “Breach.” If you listen to this album, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. This is definitely an album I’ll enjoy long after I post this review. Highly recommended.

Track Listing:
1. Intro
2. Inebriocean
3. Low End
4. Capsized
5. 47
6. Black Crow Horizon
7. Breach

Added: May 8th 2019
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1032
Language: english

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