The original super hero . . .
Reviewed by Brian McGowan and released by Cleopatra Records, 15 January 2018.
Since their debut album in 1977, Vancouver, Canada band THOR have released 29 studio albums, among which, Bugs Bunny Dressed As A Girl, Beastwomen From The Center Of The Earth and Striking Viking might sound the most interesting.
But it’s this one, Electric Eyes, that grabs your attention. Recorded in 1979, as the follow up to the commercial success of second album, Keep The Dogs Away, then shelved, then airbrushed out of the band’s history, this album bridges from the band’s glammy beginnings to the heavier sound they’ve called home for nearly 40 years. It now gets a well deserved release on Cleopatra Records.
Is it representative of their career? Well, of course not, for reasons just explained. But for students of rock’n’roll, and indeed fans of the band, this is fascinating listening. It strongly suggests that mainman Jon Miki Thor (his real name) had huge artistic talent, and could have been a darling of the “counterculture”, as the seventies pushed toward the eighties. ‘Special Flight’ and ‘She’s A Fancy Lady’, are unassuming, garage rock/protopunk gems, songs that The Modern Lovers or The Cars would have spun into New Wave gold.
Bizarrely then, the title track heads in a more conventional rock/metal direction. Then normality resumes with ‘Interception’ and ‘Storm’. There’s an unrehearsed spontaneity to these two songs, both are fluent and impressively organic, in that they sound grown from seed, nourished and cultivated, rather than written down on a page. Even moreso, ‘Twitch, Let’s Go’, and ‘The Door’ may not have the grit and daring of the Velvet Underground, but you can hear that band’s influence in creating a feel of single minded improvisation in the recordings.
This album will surprise many. And many will see the band name and album title and dismiss it. It will be their loss.
- Special Flight
- She’s A Fancy Lady
- Wild Thing
- Electric Eyes
- Twitch, (Let’s Go)
- The Door (Face Behind My Mask)
- Gladiator Romp