Thunderhawk – IV / 2005 Self / 9 Tracks / http://www.thunderhawkband.com / Reviewed 30 May 2005
This tetrad of rockers have put forth “IV”, an album that compiles songs written during the last decade (even if Thunderhawk as a band has only been around for seven of those years). It was recorded in a living room, and that really is a feat in itself, as “IV” has a professional sound to it that only is broken during certain moments (such as the beginning to Flying Corpse/Fake Troops Ending). The band moves from simple rock to taking influences like Southern/country-rock bands (Lynyrd Skynyrd) one second to moving into a path that is completely their direction the next. In that sense, they are similar to fellow Hoosiers The Nancy School. The ability of Thunderhawk to elicit emotional response from their listening base during tracks like (Love Galaxy) is simply something that cannot be surpassed. Lead singer (and guitarist) Josh Hall really makes this song something that will draw a tear to a listener’s eye.
This band is destined for something bigger than central Indiana; the songs, like rough stones made smooth by the tumbler (or time, in Thunderhawk’s case), are smooth and nearly flawless. What is striking about Thunderhawk’s music is the extremely short length of the vast majority of tracks on “IV”. The entire nine tracks of the disc end slightly after the twenty-five minute mark, making the average tracklength well below three minutes. Yet, especially during tracks like “Constantine”, the band creates something that completely drops listeners out of a specific chronology and puts them into the band’s own reality, making a sub two-minute track feel like it lasted five. The ability of Thunderhawk to so specifically use their influences in their tracks – with track five sounding much more like an early-nineties alternative track than anything else on the disc – and yet make a disc that by and large is tied together is another fat checkmark in what makes them an exciting and impressive band.
Flying Corpse/Fake Troops Ending really is the track that makes “IV” for me, using journeyman guitar riffs (not particularly concerned with trying to wow with a virtuosic guitar solo) and sly, sedate vocals Thunderbirds really show that they know their stuff. While this disc has been eight years in coming, I have a feeling that the band’s next album will be able to build off the polish and finesse that is so present on this album. The longer tracks do provide listeners with the juicy breast meat of the Thunderbirds; perhaps the band will go with longer songs this next disc? I hope so.
Top Tracks: Flying Corpse/Fake Troops Ending, Karate Choppers