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Album Review
Thundercub EP

Thundercub EP
by Thundercub


Review Date
11th October 2011
Reviewed by
Ricardo Kerr

New Zealand is geographically isolated for sure, but there must be something about being crammed down in this little corner of the world that can make us go a little feral over time. Nowhere is this truer than in the Dunedin music scene. Over the last few years it has given us such excellent bands as Mountaineater, Operation Rolling Thunder, and Left Or Right. These acts seem to thrive on their complete isolation from the rest of the country which is in-turn severely divided from the rest of the world by vast oceans. Left to their own devices they have thrived and built their own formidable cult followings. Thundercub are relative newcomers on the scene but they share a similarly vicious DIY ethic to their contemporaries. They have just released their self-titled debut EP and it is a little ripper.

‘Newfoundland’ starts the EP off with a meditative passage of the band warming up. This calm is shattered when the drums kick down the door and kick off the party. When the song hits its stride proper it is almost like discovering a new musical country; mysterious, alluring, and full of promise. Then, at nearly four minutes in, a brand new buzzsaw riff is introduced that ups the ante and the intensity even further. The tasty combination of organic bloody-fisted rock and electronic manipulation at work is brimming with character and charm. It’s hard to believe that this is the product of just three guys jamming together in a studio. Tracks like ‘Falcor’ and ‘Kowbunga’ are manic dance-alongs that defy all common sense and undermine what it is to have a ‘danceable’ song. They shift gears so many times it is hard to keep up with them but trying to do so is a hell of a lot of fun. The intro of ‘Cecil Turbine’ shows you what is happening under the hood of the track as layers and samples layer, build, and mesh until you are left with a completed song. Hearing each individual element falling into place demonstrates the skilful arrangement that is otherwise obscured. The set is rounded out with ‘Gamma’, the most straight-forward track on the album. After a percussion and effect heavy intro it slips into a guitar-driven disco groove that is positively infectious.

There is a strong element of post-hardcore in the mix but it is worlds away from the crunchy angst’n’snarl of Thursday or Senses Fail. Thundercub are only attached to these movements by an underlying ethos of controlled aggression. Their sound is also reminiscent of the futuristic freak outs pioneered by Battles but with a decidedly kiwi undertone. Thundercub are no imitators, they are the real deal.


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