Early on in “Songs From The Blue Room,” there’s a country-flavored gem called “Errol Flynn.” Luke Morley addresses the aging process with the conviction that there’s nothing wrong with growing old; dignity should prevail. This song, in many ways, encapsulates everything that is brilliant about the album, offering a clever yet fun experience. As Luke Morley himself stated, “I’ve had this one for years but I thought ‘this doesn’t sound like a Thunder song, but it’s quite good.'”
Luke Morley, a key member of Thunder for over 30 years, has always sought to push himself as a songwriter. For clarity, Thunder has been one of my favourite bands since I first heard them on the Friday Rock Show in the late ’80s, Morley, as the band’s main songwriter, has consistently desired personal growth. This ambition has been evident in his debut solo record (which I had to purchase through mail order since it was not released in the UK) and his work in The Union with Pete Shoulder. However, it becomes even more apparent in “Songs From The Blue Room.”
“I Want To See The Light” for example, carries a touch of Tom Petty’s essence, while “Killed By Cobain” channels The Kinks.
It’s worth noting that I bought Thunder’s third album during the height of the grunge era, so yeah some of us might get it.
“Damage” is a jaunty piece of heartbreak, enriched by Brian May-esque guitar work, while “Nobody Cares” possesses a somewhat cinematic quality, and its line “please don’t share every thought in your head, Nobody cares” resonates strongly, let us say.
“Watch The Sun Go Down” creates a relaxed vibe with superb organ and lovely harmonica, perfectly capturing the essence of the entire record. “Cry Like Rain” is expertly executed, showcasing Morley’s skill. “Lying To Myself” may explore hopeless romance (and, yes Luke, we noticed the “She’s So Fine” reference), but it also carries a hint of Bob Dylan’s influence. “I’m the One You Want” on the other hand, delivers simple rock ‘n’ roll that feels effortlessly Thunder-like.
Finally, “Don’t Be Long” presents an expansive, ’70s sound reminiscent of Electric Light Orchestra.
As Luke Morley aimed to differentiate this solo effort from Thunder, he succeeded remarkably well. It is a compliment to say that one would hardly recognise the connection to Thunder, aside from the evident class and quality.
In comparison, I’ve always questioned why artists like Rob Zombie would release essentially a continuation of their previous band’s sound when going solo. “Songs From The Blue Room” stands as a testament to Luke Morley’s musical skill and it deserves praise for its distinctiveness.
In all honesty, the only thing I can criticse about this album is Luke’s modest statement about the songs being “quite good.” They are far more than that. “Songs From The Blue Room” is from the very top draw.