Delusions of Grandeur, the debut LP from Bimm Thumper graduates, took about six years to prepare – about three years of writing, three more recordings, with the small matter of a pandemic on top of that. Perhaps now is a good time for Thumper to make their statement of intent, with guitar bands exporting the country at an all-time high.
The touchpoints here are American garage rock bands; Weezer, Pavement, Pixies and The Dandy Warhols are cited as influences, while second track Ad Nauseam evokes Billy Corgan’s gravel-whine voice at its most neo-punk-nasal.
Although the riffs are punchy, there is a serious timing issue. The first three songs alone are over 19 minutes long for no apparent reason. The Loser, though slightly overcooked in production, has better make its point in 3 1/2 minutes, while Strychnine, a cut acoustic guitar track, makes great use of dynamics in holding in the big reveal. instrumental which is suggested but never succumbs. .
Elsewhere, Topher Grace (another seven-plus-minute track) sees singer Leahy Furlong try out her best Mark E Smith – “my ego is the best boy in the room – woo-hoo!” – in an effortlessly charming bend. It’s the highlight of the album, lyrically, with Furlong digging deep into teenage worries; practicing chatting in the mirror, wanting to “pick up and be taken care of”, sweating through borrowed clothes at a party that he knows if he left, he would just carry on without him. He positions himself through the cinema lens, frames the shot with his fingers – “I saw him in a movie once” – but bravado and confidence are set in motion, and the “fictional real” is revealed. just be tried and tested masculine stereotypes. like shirts before a night out on the town.
The Overbite Suite – the last three tracks on the disc which represent approximately 20 minutes of the running time – was recorded and intended to be performed as a single piece. The first (Overbite) lands somewhere between car seat headrest and mid-2000s emo – again, long and overcooked, though it will no doubt work best in a live setting . Ghost, with its 3.5 minute intro, could have been paired with a decent instrumental number, but in reality it takes half its runtime to get going. Down In Heaven, the album’s closest and longest track, earns its runtime better, with Biffy Clyro fans sure to find something to connect with.
With six years of material to work on, it’s no wonder this debut album is bursting with ideas. Nonetheless, Thumper carved out a place for himself in the burgeoning Irish guitar rock scene retaining a strong sense of identity. A good start.