We’ve been expecting big things from Thumper since we spotlighted them in our 2017 Plec Picks series. By then, the Dublin-based garage-psych sextet had already released a couple of well-regarded EPs and had built a reputation as one of the most exciting live bands in Ireland. In the years since, in spite of line-up changes, the group have expanded their notoriety while tightening their once jagged, ramshackle sound to a jet-engine-like roar. Their highly anticipated debut LP, ‘Delusions Of Grandeur’, is all the proof you need.
Ambitious and bold in sound and vision, ‘Delusions Of Grandeur’ is bombastic in the best way possible. From the opening, relentless guitar stabs that kick off Fear Of Art, Thumper leave no stone unturned. Layers upon layers of loud, distorted guitars and pulverising drums drive the album forward, with arrangements that make the songs feel like half of their often Byzantine length.
A varied listen, Thumper flit from snarling epics like Ad Nauseum and 25 to the barbed pop-punk of The Loser and the lurching, emotional comedown on closing track Down In Heaven with relative ease and freedom. Meticulous attention is paid to the album’s sequencing, the album’s longer and more intricate moments punctuated with the acoustic guitar-led musings of Strychnine or the fuzzed-out stomp of Overbite.
The album’s centrepiece, Topher Grace, straddles both sides of this coin perfectly, blending the intricate, interlocking chord progressions and melodies with the over the top volume and an increasingly erratic and energetic, staccato vocal delivery that all but disguise the self-deprecating lyrical content (“Don’t be offended by my songs, I didn’t mean a single word / I’d disown them in a second for your touch”).
Grandiose in scale and scope, both sonically and lyrically, but by no means delusional about it, Thumper have presented here a document of a band that took its time before jumping into that first big project. The end product is an album that, while a particularly long-form one in just 10 tracks, never overstays its welcome and at face value, is just plain fun to listen to.