Review: Brittany Howard goes into all-out rock mode with Thunderbitch



3.5 OUT OF 5 NUTS!

thunderbitch“Thunderbitch. Rock ‘n’ Roll. The end.”

That line is all that the bio section of Thunderbitch’s web site consists of, and really that line is the only thing that’s necessary. Thunderbitch, the side project of Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard, is nothing but pure, unapologetic rock n’ roll — to hell with everything else.

Howard strays away the diverse soul/R&B flavor that Alabama Shakes mixes in on occasion and focuses totally on rocking out on her side project’s self-titled debut album. It’s fun, with more energy and more attitude than Alabama Shakes, even if it doesn’t always work quite as well.

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Thunderbitch is laced with influences that can be traced back over the decades of the rock n’ roll genre and carries with it a true, raw rock sound and attitude. Nowhere is that more evident than the album’s opening track “Leather Jacket,” a track that conjures up a classic old-school rock attitude. There’s something very satisfying about hearing Howard belting out “lookin’ totally fuckin aweeesome!”

That same attitude and ’60s spirit can be found on “Eastside Party” and “I Just Wanna Rock and Roll”:

Thunderbitch also gets down and dirty with the blues with “My Baby Is My Guitar” and “Heavenly Feeling” while mixing in blasts of punk aggression on tracks like “Wild Child” and a Rolling Stones-esque rocker in “Very Best Friend,” with Howard’s formidable musical muscle flexing the whole way through. It all makes for a good time, albeit one that may at certain points leave the feeling that some of it might sound better live than on record.

The release of Thunderbitch came as a surprise, although the band (featuring members of Nashville bands Fly Golden Eagle and Clear Plastic Masks) and the songs have been floating around for a while. That surprise is a welcome one for fans of rock music, as Thunderbitch is a love letter to the genre and feels like a middle finger to anyone claiming rock is dead, and that alone deserves applause. It might not always strike the right chord, but for anyone who is yearning for some pure, old-fashioned rock with an attitude, Thunderbitch may just prove to be your fix.

Thunderbitch can be heard via streaming or purchased at the band’s web site (click here).

Release Date: September 1, 2015

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