Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Love Yourself - Thunder Power

Love Yourself

Thunder Power
Slumber Party Records.

SCQ Rating: 75%

Well we’ve made it this far… January is all but tied off, leaving us with another solid month and a half of chilly overcast, short days and wind-chill warnings. No better time, then, to introduce oneself to Love Yourself, the debut release by Thunder Power that’ll remind you how near and sweet Springtime is. Throughout this EP’s varied five tracks, the Nebraska band calls to mind all the vitality of those early Spring days when doors are left ajar and balconies become part of your pad’s square-footage again.

‘Take a Hike’ is a smooth lounge track derailed (and thusly saved) by the twee-rock sensibilities of Belle & Sebastian while lead-singer Kacynna has the smoke-stained allure of Chan Marshall, lending some disaffected but genuine vocals to the jangle-pop of ‘Imaginary Rules’. So yes, Thunder Power must’ve adored the Matador catalogue through the late 90s. These overt influences mix breezy acoustics with fashionably mopey vocals, finding an original concession between the sounds of their idols. The breadth of their musicianship is most deserving of attention, however, as a simple folk-pop assemblage including guitar, percussion and organ is hardly enough for Thunder Power. With its spritely tambourine and distinct keys, ‘Casanova’ blends the catchiness of The Cars with The Pretenders’ swagger. Better yet is ‘Your Pantry’, an upbeat pseudo-history lesson with its bittersweet melodica hovering over energetic drumming. Further exercising some diversity is ‘Lucky To Be Alive’’s vocal switch-up, introducing male vocals that spin yet another potential identity for this young band. It’s Love Yourself’s final track, yet the introduction of a male vocalist seems to fit a crucial piece of the puzzle into place. Thunder Power is too playful and lyrically romantic to be anything but a co-ed collaboration and Matt’s vocals (think of a less self-serious Michael Stipe) are that element I didn’t know was missing.

Where the future lies for bands of this sound remains uncertain. At this early stage, Thunder Power might crack a career offering folk-pop albums discernable by slight variations on theme and mood or break into an entirely different musical sphere (they do site Johnny Cash, Otis Redding and Sufjan Stevens as muses, after all). Wherever their next release takes aim, Love Yourself is an instantly likeable and impressive debut.

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