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Thunder: Dopamine

I'm admittedly a little late to the game with the music of the longstanding UK hard rock act Thunder, and it took some prodding from our very own Steven Reid to get my journey into their long catalog started about a year or so ago. Since then, I've jumped into a handful of their albums, and have liked what I have heard, especially their 2021 release All the Right Noises, so I was more than ready for their 2022 effort Dopamine, which came out earlier this year as a 2CD set on BMG. The current line-up of Thunder remains Danny Bowes on vocals, Luke Morley on guitars, keyboards, and backing vocals, Ben Matthews on guitars, keyboards, and backing vocals, Chris Childs on bass & backing vocals, and Gary James on drums, backing vocals, guitar, and percussion. Dopamine contains 16 new songs, and runs roughly 71 minutes long...why a 2CD set when all these songs could easily fit on a single disc you might ask? I'm asking myself the same question.

Now having this album for many months, I've wanted to give it plenty of time before I discuss my opinions on it, and truth be told, I was hoping my feelings towards Dopamine would change over time, and it really hasn't. I'm left feeling that this release would have been much stronger with 11-12 songs and sitting at a firm 45 minutes or so. Stylistically speaking, Dopamine is all over the place, with its fair share of hard rockers, blues, some classic rock & boogie, and a bit of almost pop/crossover country and rootsier fare. While I'm totally behind tracks like "All the Way", "The Western Sky", "Dancing in the Sunshine", "Black", "No Smoke Without Fire", and the rousing "Across the Nation", it's mellow filler like "Big Pink Supermoon", "Last Orders", "Just a Grifter", "I Don't Believe a Word", "Is There Anybody Out There?", and "Even If it Takes a Lifetime" that just has me feeling restless and pushing for the skip button. So much so, that even the tracks I enjoy don't make me want to take the journey of playing the album as a whole due to the sheer amount of tracks that just don't pack the punch of what drove me to this band to begin with.

There is a strong 40 minute album in here, but as presented, Dopamine is ultimately a bloated release of way too many filler tracks and mellow excursions into a myriad of styles that seemingly takes the bite out of this bands otherwise hard hitting style.

Track Listing
Disc: 1
1 The Western Sky
2 One Day We'll Be Free Again
3 Even If It Takes a Lifetime
4 Black
5 Unraveling
6 The Dead City
7 Last Orders
8 All the Way

Disc: 2
1 Dancing in the Sunshine
2 Big Pink Supermoon
3 Across the Nation
4 Just a Grifter
5 I Don't Believe the World
6 Disconnected
7 Is Anybody Out There?
8 No Smoke Without Fire

Added: December 18th 2022
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 466
Language: english

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