Track listing: Epidemication, The Before Times (feat. George Noory), There'll Be No Dancing, 1000mph To Nowhere (feat. George Noory), Monster of Speed, Plain Eclipse Of The Snake, The Albatross (feat. George Noory), Oh Yes, Here It Is, A Cinematic Prayer, The Sound of Horror (feat. George Noory), We All Lose Someone Sometimes, An Afterthought, Bon Voyage Sweet Chicken, Take A Nap (feat. George Noory), An Unauthroized Interview, Be Resurrected Tonight, The Silver Lining (feat. George Noory)
"THUNDERCLAP revels in the strange and surreal." Yes, he absolutely does.
A quick perusal through THUNDERCLAP!'s Instagram (@thunderclapisms)--the above quote appearing in its bio--may have you wondering what you've happened upon. Is he a musician? A magician? A medieval mystic? The answers seem to be a little bit of 'all of the above.'
Well the mighty, and odd, and mighty odd THUNDERCLAP! has a new album slated for an August 20th release this year entitled Strange Songs for Strange Times, and the title could not be more well suited. The 17-track epic sets out before the listener nearly an hour's worth of music and merriment.
Things kick off with the 8-minute "Epidemication," a single originally released in 2021 but certainly appropriate for inclusion on Strange Songs... A blend of Byrne, Bowie and Zappa, it brings a peppy song 1/2-sung, 1/2-hollered and spoken. Diving into the album's new material, we encounter the first of six spoken word pieces with narration courtesy of George Noory. Have we entered a carnival-esque version of A Prairie Home Companion?
"There'll Be No Dancing" brings us back to the music. But have we crossed into a sub-genre fathered by Shatner? We're in an art song. Or a musical poem. Perhaps a series of short stories set to music. Strange Songs for Strange Times indeed.
THUNDERCLAP! has bestowed upon us an experience that is beyond categorization. Its Apple Music genre of "Folk / Art-Pop" isn't wrong, just not all-inclusive. Moments seemingly performed by The Spiders From Mars transition into refrains that could have just not made the final edit of Rocky Horror. Then comes along "Bon Voyage Sweet Chicken" which I swear I've heard a minstrel singing at my last Renaissance festival.
Strange Songs for Strange Times is delightful as it is odd. It presents as many questions as answers. Like, where would one listen to this? It could make for an interesting road trip soundtrack. Maybe not party music, though it depends who you invite. But what is certain is that THUNDERCLAP! revels in frivolity. And positivity. The album concludes with a hopeful musing offered by Noory:
...there's always been problems a-brewin', trouble a-poppin'. And there most likely, and unfortunately, always will be. I'd like to believe that each one of us will find our moment to step up, to lend a hand, righting the wrongs when we individually have the strength to. In the meantime, before the next weird predicament or anomaly takes us all by surprise, spread around the smiles and the compliments, smell the roses and have some fun.
Follow all things THUNDERCLAP! at thunderclap.ca.