Icons of British hard rock, Thunder, are set to release a brand new album, ‘Dopamine‘, out on April 29. ‘Dopamine’ is Thunder’s first ever double-album, and consists of 16 tracks – something that is resonant with the album’s themes.
Guitarist, songwriter and Thunder co-founder Luke Morley says: “‘We didn’t set out to make a double album but as the writing and recording process went on we wandered into some interesting areas and then it became a case of ‘can we afford to leave any of this off?’ In the end we did reduce it from 20 tunes to 16 but it wasn’t an easy choice.”
Satirical and urgent but never downcast, ‘Dopamine’ was inspired by the world’s mass retreat to social media during the pandemic lockdowns, endlessly hunting for the next hit of happy hormones.
“I read a fascinating article by an American psychologist,” says Luke, “who said that social media forces us to become dopamine addicts. We’re validated and liked on social media, which releases the dopamine – and so we get addicted to it. We take more and more selfies in the hope of more and more validation, and the album cover reflects this. People are surrounded by amazing things that they’re missing because they’re so self-obsessed. Of course, you’ll have to get your hands on the physical album to see all of the amazing things I’m referring to.”
The new album comes at the perfect time for Thunder, whose line-up for the last quarter-century and more has been Luke and Danny Bowes (singer), plus Ben Matthews (guitar and keyboards), Chris Childs (bass) and Harry James (drums).
They’ve been riding a wave of success since their 2015 comeback album Wonder Days, releasing the acclaimed All The Right Noises last year, with Classic Rock speculating that it could be the band’s best album yet. The record went Top 3 in the UK Albums Chart; a quite incredible feat for a British hard rock band into their 4th decade. Globally, it was one of their most successful albums to date. Giving them their first top 10 in Germany and Switzerland; their highest chart entry in Japan, Belgium, and Austria; and for the first time they charted in markets including France and Spain.
And make no mistake – the last 30 years have been a rollercoaster ride. Thunder had a start in life like few other bands, delivering a killer debut LP with 1990’s Backstreet Symphony and scoring a US record deal with the help of a keen fan, Axl Rose of Guns N’Roses. Songs like ‘Dirty Love’ and ‘Low Life In High Places’ – according to the late radio legend Tommy Vance, “the greatest ever single released by a rock band” – have gone on to enter the British rock canon.
Despite these early triumphs, rewarded with gold awards and one of the most enduring fanbases on the planet, changes in musical fashions and two breakups made Thunder’s progress a rocky road indeed. All that changed with the current sequence of albums that kicked off seven years ago with Wonder Days. Too vital to be simply labelled veterans, too varied in style to be just another classic rock band. Thunder are at the very peak of their considerable form, still offering fans doses of ‘Dopamine’ after all these years.