by Jason Hoffman

I’d like to find out more about the band Thunderhawk and their album IV, but their website contradicts the plastic that was sent to me. I’d also like to join their band, but I’m too old, live too far away, play the baritone ukulele and have too many responsibilities. Sometimes life doesn’t give you what you want.

What life did give me was a compact disc of nine highly polished and well written power pop songs that draw from the best of the last four decades of pop. This is promising for those enrolled at Ball State, as three of the four members have degrees in music engineering from that educational institution. These members are, in order of height divided by graduation date, Josh Hall (vocals and instruments), Doug Market (instruments), Greg Dixon (guitar) and Justin Darrow (bass).

Thunderhawk formed in 1994, taking its name from a sarcastic attempt to attract enough of the ubiquitous metal fans to satisfy venue owners. But there isn’t any metal or even hard rock on IV. Nope What you get, at least what I got on the nine song pre-release version, is free-wheeling pop and rock with loads of classic touches. Your mileage may vary on the “over 30 song” version listed on their website, or on the 22-song version referred to on their online press release.

Unfortunately, the disc I received didn’t have song names, so I’ll make them up. “Feldspar” features clean guitars, breezy 60s pop, and the feel-good vibe of The Spongetones. A Pavement influence is found in “Gravy Pajamas,” which is heavier to the point of mega-power-pop, causing the singer to sing “All I see are robots when I sleep.” “Lunch Money for the Dead” and “Llama” both sport a Ween sheen, one with gritty rock and the other with more fanciful rock elements, a great, driving guitar melody and a catchy vocal line. The lazy, ambling “Conduit Skies” is Beach Boys meets Guided by Voices, and “Sleepytime Gorilla Museum” takes a chunky Kinks riff and a classic rock guitar solo to the inevitable conclusion of a massive “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” repeating wall of overdriven guitars. The album closes with “Pink Bunnies,” a raucous, distorted, gritty garage rocker.

To get your hands and ears on this excellent and excellently recorded album fly on over to www.thunderhawkband.com and see if they’ll sell you one. The price is either $15 or $13, depending on the page you are viewing, the browser you are using and the name of your podiatrist.

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