Only Thunder - Lower Bounds (Cover Artwork)

Only Thunder

Only Thunder: Lower BoundsLower Bounds (2008)
Bermuda Mohawk Productions

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: Dante3000Dante3000
(others by this writer | submit your own)

There are certain phrases that, though true, still seem to conflict with what your brain perceives to be true. California voters are homophobic by majority. There are less people in Alaska than San Jose, CA. And Colorado is a hot bed of musical diversity. Though it may seem odd, it's actually quite .
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There are certain phrases that, though true, still seem to conflict with what your brain perceives to be true. California voters are homophobic by majority. There are less people in Alaska than San Jose, CA. And Colorado is a hot bed of musical diversity. Though it may seem odd, it's actually quite true. Despite the initial thoughts of folk music and John Denver (who was actually born in New Mexico), Colorado has spawned everything from Drag the River to Ghost Buffalo, to Planes Mistaken for Stars -- even Pinhead Circus. Hell, Colorado is even bucking its political history, voting for a Democratic presidential candidate for just the second time in 40 years. So it makes perfect sense that Only Thunder is exactly what you'd never expect from Colorado.

Only Thunder is a veritable who's who of "who's that?" The band boasts former members of the Blackout Pact, Ghost Buffalo, Cost of Living, the Mediks and a ton of others. Chances are if you were a fan of those bands you've already heard of Only Thunder and have made your mind up one way or the other about their debut full-length, Lower Bounds. But, where does that leave you, undecided and unaware listeners? The short answer is they lay somewhere between heavy, groove-driven hard rock and more traditional forms of emotional punk. Sort of like Hot Water Music meets one of the better popular hard rock bands. Sound appealing? Probably not, because those comparisons are always incredibly vague and often inaccurate. So interested readers trek on.

The thing that pops out about this album on first listen is that Only Thunder seems much more driven musically than lyrically. That isn't to say the lyrics aren't present but the band seems to spend far more time focusing on constructing a solid melody, knocking out deep grooves and occasionally noodling around than they do trying to write a wicked falsetto or some incoherent story. This works to the band's advantage. Though the vocals are strong and suitable for the music, they are clearly not going to stand out enough to become the band's trademark. However, their amazing musicianship and talent for writing heavy and melodious music might.

The main issue with Lower Bounds is that the tracks that stand out, really stand out and those that don't, really don't. It isn't to say that you can't enjoy the whole album (I rarely skip a track when I put it on) but you clearly know when your favorite track comes on and the rest of the time it may not be so clear what track is playing. For example, "Fucking Your Way to the Middle" immediately jumps out as a track you'd hear in a gang or motorcycle film (like "Sons of Anarchy") that would be all over the radio the next day. Likewise, I'm always aware when "Ice Bullets" comes on and instantly begin to look forward to the unavoidable head-nodding melodies and the awesome guitar solo. However, on that same note, I probably couldn't distinguish "Splatter House" from "Her vs. The Triceramom." Not that either are bad tracks -- they just seem to lack the power or instant catch that makes the standout tracks on the album so good.

Overall, Lower Bounds is an great debut album that shows a ton of promise. At its best, Lower Bounds is a hard rock roller-coaster that toys with everything from unusual timing and vocal effects to swooping instruments and vocal laying. At its worst, it still boasts good, if not immediately memorable rock songs that are better than most albums' "filler." If Only Thunder keep writing solid songs that are as sonically layered and enjoyable as Lower Bounds, they will definitely have a good place amongst the amazing and varied artists of the fine state of Colorado.


People who liked this also liked:
Hot Water Music - CautionStrike Anywhere - Iron Front [7 inch]The Menzingers - On the Impossible PastCheap Girls - Giant OrangeMake Do and Mend - End Measured MilePolar Bear Club - Sometimes Things Just DisappearMicah Schnabel - I'm Dead, SeriousSundowner - Four One Five TwoElway - DelusionsBanner Pilot - Resignation Day [reissue]

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
PinkPenguin (January 16, 2009)

love this album... sounds like a mix between The Honor System and PBC, but that might just be me

xote (November 24, 2008)

Angel Hair from CO fucking ruled.

bryne (November 24, 2008)

Good review, and you gave it the same score I would have.

icapped2pac (November 24, 2008)

Solid debut. The orange vinyl with the grey/black splatters is sweet, too.

Ghostbuffalo (November 22, 2008)

Great Album, Great Band, Great Dudes.

and no PMFS are not pissed, seeing as how we spent 1 year as a band in Peoria and 9 in Denver, I think we would consider them both home.

Go purchase your Only thunder record NOW!

DrGunn (November 22, 2008)

i should move to denver. rent is shockingly cheap there.

SloaneDaley (November 22, 2008)

wow I forgot that The Gamits and Christie Front Drive were from there, Denver has produced or nurtured a decent amount of good to great bands. I'll check these studs out.

genebuonaccorsi (November 22, 2008)

"and of course who could forget Harrison Bergeron!"

of course

xshoutoutx (November 21, 2008)

... also, in correlation to bands from Colorado, maybe some more lesser known bands, but still awesome none the less... and mostly my friends:

Día Dora Vida: (check them out, in my opinion the best shit to hit CO in a while, though they just moved to portland) http://www.myspace.com/diadoravida

The Great Redneck Hope (broken up but awesome grind and great dudes)

A Novel Form (really poppy but once again awesome and dedicated dudes)

10-4 Eleanor (some of my good friends, good beard punk from FOCO)


Autokinoton (still to this day the loudest band i've ever heard)

... and of course who could forget Harrison Bergeron! Still to me the best, aside from TBP, band to come out of CO during my time.

xshoutoutx (November 21, 2008)

just glad to see some post blackout pact endeavors... this is really decent!

sourvein (November 21, 2008)

this band is pretty good. i bet the next record will be better

also other bands from CO:
Christie Front Drive
The Gamits
Angel Hair
Love Me Destoyer

all those bands did pretty well from what i remember

Dante3000 (November 21, 2008)

haha, sorry folks. PMFS are pissed!

mystereohasmono (November 21, 2008)

PMFS started in Peoria IL. After their first record, they migrated to Denver. This is fact.

Ikari (November 21, 2008)

Colorado did not spawn Planes Mistaken for Stars; they moved there after their first record

ashtraymonument (November 21, 2008)

colorado is better than you.

the_other_scott (November 21, 2008)

Denver/Boulder has had some really successful bands over the past five years.

The Blackout Pact
Signal to Noise
Grace Gale
The Photo Atlas
The Flobots
The Hot IQs
The Swayback
Planes MIstaken for Stars
Fear Before the March of Flames

DefyPhysics (November 21, 2008)

This is a great album and I think the reviewer hit it right on the mark. There's a few standout songs, and then there's filler (but really good filler). It's an album that is listenable to all the way through, and that's all you can really ask of an album.

This album reminds me of Small Brown Bike's last album and Able Baker Fox. Just with more noodling around on the guitars.

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