The band Only Thunder consists of a lot of rumble and electricity. Generalized stylistic terms like “post-punk,” “mall punk,” and “emo-punk” get thrown around a lot and can often be harmful to an album if applied. Though, I must say, all of those labels can apply to the sounds of Only Thunder and have probably been applied to them in the past. But don’t let that discourage you from giving the band a listen. It’s evident from listening to their tunes that Only Thunder is greatly influenced by the likes of Hot Water Music and Black Flag. However, unlike many other followers of these punk staples, Only Thunder actually does some justice to their predecessors.
Lower Bounds sounds strangely self-assured for a debut album. Their stylistic aim is clear from the opening song, "Tapestries, Candles, Zima," and is executed by their hardcore guitar riffs and doubled drums throughout. It’s a classic punk equation with simple repeated chords and varied rhythm. The drums are dry and fast. It’s not too polished, but approachable enough for all types of music fans. Layered vocals round out their sound and could arguably be the weakest part of their music.
Their broken heart blues are nothing new and Only Thunder doesn’t give it a different spin either. Despite that, one can appreciate that the words aren’t delivered in a nasally self-entitled whine or a meek whimper. Rather, the lyrics are presented in a strong, solid and, most appropriately, loud way that makes you feel apart of the music‘s emotions.
All in all, Only Thunder is the kind of music that makes me imagine a band that might play in the basement of a rundown bowling alley in Cleveland. The ceiling is water-stained, the stage is small, and the air is thick with smoke. The dance floor is full of dudes sweating, pushing, jumping and not missing one word. And if you remember closely, you can even see a few chicks getting into the storm as well.