The Last Mixed Tape has followed the emergence of Thumper since the group took their first urgent steps onto the Irish indie scene. From their noise-ridden, garage-housed early recordings, line-up changes and sonic evolution, Thumper has metamorphosed itself into a band where all the ragged glory of their early days has been honed down to a sharpened point. Delusions of Grandeur, the group’s long-awaited debut, is the zenith of this journey. It is an album as confident in its bone-rattling milieu as it is in its intricate songwriting.
Thumper’s Delusions of Grandeur takes no half-measures. Thumper swing for the fences, both in production and songwriting. From the opening, persistent strums and propellant build of ‘Fear of Art’, Thumper find clarity amongst the distortion. Everything has its place within the all-encompassing force of thrashing guitars, slammed down drum beats and snarled vocals. Conveying what is being said with what is being heard in equal measure makes Delusions of Grandeur work. Indeed, the stripped-back ending of ‘Fear of Art’ emphasizes what is behind the wall of sound.
Moving from long-form epics like ’25’, that maintain a compelling level of urgency throughout, to the short sharp shock indie-pop of ‘The Loser’ showcases both sides of Thumper and Delusions of Grandeur. This is best seen in the record’s closing tracks, the growled ‘Overbite’ through to the pensive build and release of eight-minute finisher ‘Down In Heaven’. This is an album that uses dynamics to shape its scope and scale.
However, ‘Topher Grace’ balances both the long and short form, the aggressive aesthetic and the sleek pop hooks of Thumper. Set against a buzz-saw backdrop of angled fuzzed ridden guitars and punctuated beats, lines like “I hate myself and want to live. I want to love. I want to give, I want to take and be taken care of” contrast lyrically whilst delivered with the same singular energy as the music.
And so it goes, Delusions of Grandeur could only come, and indeed work, at this point in Thumper’s evolution. Juxtaposing the immediate nature of the music, Thumper is a band that waited patiently, striking at the right moment. This attention to detail and craft plays throughout as they confidently contort noise, melody and meaning within a record alive with clarity and precision. A few years in the making and a long road to traverse, but the destination is truly worth every step.