It seems that Sweden is enjoying quite the hard-rock revival this summer. While their fellow countrymen H.e.a.t. have returned with a full-tilt blast of unrefined hard rock on their new album, Thundermother are coming from a similar standpoint but with more in the way of subtlety.
With countless ‘woah-oah’s and the use of a Bon Jovi-style talk-box, Black And Gold glides along on a wave of singalong arena rock, especially in the joyous Raise Your Hands, celebrating the search for self-made nuggets of glamour in life even when times are hard. But for every air-punching anthemic chorus there’s a moment of reflection, as in the rolling blues rock of Hot Mess (described by the band as “Aerosmith-meets-Aretha Franklin”), which allows singer Guernica Mancini to wring every drop of emotion from her soul.
Borrowed Time, meanwhile, offers a surprisingly downbeat ending, a portrait of the crash in mood that comes when the show is over and it’s time to deal with your own self-doubt.
With a gleaming melody contrasting and complementing the gloom, it brings to mind a song by another of their country’s top exports, ABBA’s The Winner Takes It All, reinvented and beamed through a classic-rock prism. There’s a lot more going on in Black And Gold than it at first suggests.