Thunder might have announced a series of UK arena dates for next March but the band’s genesis goes back more than 30 years to a time when record label bosses were searching for pop rock’s next big thing.
Step forward Terraplane – a quartet blessed with boyish good looks and a bunch of chorus-driven tunes beloved of Kerrang! magazine’s tastemakers and fans alike.
Epic liked what they saw and what they heard. By 1984 the band was hard at work recording its hotly anticipated debut: Black And White didn’t disappoint with Luke Morley’s trademark riffs and Danny Bowes’ multi-layered vocals making an instant impression.
If tracks like the limp I Can’t Live Without Your Love lack the blues rock thrust running right through Thunder’s Backstreet Symphony then opener Don’t Walk Away and You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore offer a hint of what Terraplane would become.
Piano-led ballad Talking To Myself might occasionally sound like an iffy Elton John/Queen collaboration but it allows Bowes another golden opportunity to showcase his unique talent. Think a watered-down version of Love Walked In – again the potential is there without ever being fully realised (Morley’s tinny solo is lost in a muddy production).
Guest stars including Jools Holland and Ruby Turner make Black And White more intriguing than your average debut and the expanded edition includes a treasure trove of bonus tracks. Check out the City Records versions of I Survive and Gimme The Money – both will resonate with long-time Thunder fans and are a genuine treat for Terraplane virgins.
Fate would decree just one more album by these oft-overlooked rockers. But few fans bemoan the demise of Terraplane given that Thunder rose so spectacularly from its ashes. Black And White is a belter of an album but – let’s face it – it’s no Backstreet Symphony.
Full track listing:
Don’t Walk Away, When You’re Hot, I Can’t Live Without Your Love, Talking To Myself, You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore, I Survive, Right Between The Eyes, Black And White, I’m The One, Get Your Face Out Of My Dream, Couldn’t Handle The Tears
Expanded edition bonus tracks: Beginning Of the End, Let The Wheels Go Round, Get Your Face Out Of My Dream (Demo Version), Gimme The Money, All Night And Day (Live), Tough Kind Of Life, I Survive (City Records, 1983), Gimme The Money (City Records, 1983).
Terraplane’s Black And White Expanded Edition is available here via HNE Recordings.