It’s a fair bet that Luke Morley doesn’t have any hobbies. Not for him days spent on the greens of the south coast hacking away at a golf ball, working on his stroke. And while the seemingly endless days of covid gave most people a few extra pounds around the middle and a newly found drinking habit, Morley used the time to write a two-disc Thunder album, and somewhere in between those songs he unearthed these 10 glittering gems.
By his own admission, these songs were never going to fit on a Thunder album. The thrumming opener I Wanna See The Light probably comes closest, but Songs From The Blue Room is a solo record in the truest sense, with Morley singing and playing everything except the drums.
Yes, singing, that bloke from Thunder that isn’t Danny Bowes. Not only can Morley write deft, Americana-tinged songs, he can carry them too; on the lyrical, Little Feat-like Lying To Myself he does a very passable Chris Robinson wail. It’s all southern stomp, before eventually turning into a jubilant bar-room jam that rockets along.
The wry Killed By Cobain details how America resisted Thunder’s charms as grunge landed with a thump just as Morley’s flight was coming in to land in LA. There’s no bitterness, though, and its playful pop, XTC-like mid-section is indicative of the song’s bristling charm, Morley singing with a lop-sided smile. There’s a certain midlife ruefulness to the lyrics to Errol Flynn, too, the latter days of a Lothario now spent alone at one end of the bar, as the party and young girls rage across the room, now just out ofreach.
Lying To Myself’s harmonica part might owe more than a nod to Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ In The Wind, but it’s a lovely, freewheeling charm of a song about the upsides of settling down – quite some way from She’s So Fine, but we’ve all got to grow up some time. Morley takes to the piano for the happy tramp of Damage, one of the poppier interludes on the album, woven around an incisive guitar solo.
The swaying Nobody Cares casts its withering gaze at social media, while album closer Don’t Be Long is a song that you imagine Robbie Williams would have happily taken off Morley’s hands and turned it into a stadium barnstormer. You can almost feel the fireworks overhead as the last, sad piano chord is played.