Thunder Jackson – Thunder Jackson

A polished and highly enjoyable debut.
Released: 1st October 2020
Rating: ★★★

A music producer finding his next prodigy in the back of a shared taxi cab in LA might sound like the makings of a cheesy Hollywood movie, but in the case of Thunder Jackson it was reality. Hearing the vocalist singing from the back seat, writer/musician/’maker of things’ (as states in his Instagram bio) Pete Winfield decided they must work together, the swift result coming in the form of 2017’s glorious pop banger ‘Guilty Party’. However, with the duo maintaining a somewhat level of initial secrecy, they provided little follow up in terms of promotion, or output. It is only now, after three years, that we are rewarded with a full-length debut, and despite none of the other ten tracks quite reaching the heights or promise of ‘Guilty Party’, it remains nonetheless an accomplished tapestry of indie-pop.

Opening the record with latest single ‘Institution’, we see how the walls that may have surrounded Thunder Jackson in the past are demolished, as the singer bares all, opening up about his time on misprescribed medication during his youth, and its impact on his mental health; the droning beat underneath echoing the never-ending cycle of helplessness our mind can become trapped in. If the album suggests anything, however, it’s that there is always a way out of the dark and happiness is truly attainable for everyone. These themes are continued throughout the record; ‘Find Yourself’, a 1975-esque anthem, detailing the daily human search for identity and self-love, whilst ‘Let It Roll In’ and ‘Led Astray’ tackle the struggle yet necessity to leave home and make your own way in the world.

There is no doubting the talent of Thunder Jackson’s voice, and it is on tracks such as ‘Caroline’ where we get to see his full range, his heart-aching falsetto crying out alone over a minimalist piano. One of several ballads on the record, the melodies at time do lean close to formulaic (think Irish pop-rock band Kodaline). However, it is a formula executed to perfection, as seen most noticeably on joyous festival-ready ‘Colours’. Overall, while the album may lack originality in places, it remains a polished, and highly enjoyable debut, Thunder Jackson being a name sure to appear more frequently in the coming years.

Dominic Allum

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