The Groundhogs
Thank Christ For The Bomb


4.0
excellent

Review

by JamieTwort CONTRIBUTOR (28 Reviews)
February 9th, 2012 | 28 replies


Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Thank Christ for the Groundhogs!

During the late 60’s/early 70’s there was a great number of Cream-influenced bands emerging from the UK blues and psychedelic rock scene. Most of these acts predictably failed to achieve the levels of success of those who had inspired them and were often criticized for treading ground already well trodden. Groundhogs were an exception to the rule in regards to the latter, having something of a creative streak in them that helped separate them from the pack and distance them from the Cream comparisons. Having released several moderately successful albums in the late 60’s, beginning with their aptly titled debut, Scratching the Surface, Groundhog’s breakthrough came in the form of their controversially titled fourth album, Thank Christ for the Bomb. The album is a concept album based around the topic of “alienness”, a theme that bandleader, Tony McPhee, came up with after the band’s manager suggested the album title. Tony McPhee’s thought provoking lyrics were one of the things that made the band stand out from other similar bands emerging around the same period such as Mountain and the lesser-known Frijid Pink. Song writing isn’t the only thing McPhee has in his locker, he’s also an excellent blues guitarist and a more than adequate singer who’s voice sounds like a cross between that of Jack Bruce (Cream) and John Wetton (King Crimson, UK, Asia etc.). The rest of the band is made up of the rhythm section of Peter Cruikshank (bass) and Ken Pustelnik (drums) who’s playing combines brillantly with McPhee’s Hendrix-esque guitar playing.

The album opens with the stomping Strange Town, which is about the “alienness of a community” and finds McPhee delivering one his most Jack Bruce-esque vocal performaces accompanied by some of his most fiery guitar licks. The first track to deal with the subject of war, a topic quite central to the album’s theme, is the song Soldier, which the liner notes claim is about the “alienness of a country”. The song is one of the album’s catchiest tracks and manged to climb it’s way into the charts after the band performed it during one of John Peel’s radio sessions. It’s on the album’s centre piece, the seven minute title track, where the band really show what they’re capable of. The song starts off with McPhee singing about war through the years over a backdrop of acoustic guitars before the song transforms into a heavy pschedelic blues workout, which brings the song and side one of the original album to a crushing climax.

Another thing that distinguishes this album from those being released by other blues-based rock bands at the time is it’s consistency. Every track on the album is musically strong and lyrically important to the concept of the record. The only track that could be said to be rather forgetable, although the term less-memorable seems more appropriate, is Status People. The track is led by a slow, simple bass riff and never seems to get going as much as it threatens to. It does however pave the way nicely for the more upbeat Rich Man, Poor Man, which is an album highlight along with the title track and the superb album closer, Eccentric Man, arguably the heaviest track on the album.

Overall Thank Christ for the Bomb is an excellent blues rock album that will appeal to fans of bands such as Cream and Ten Years After as well as fans of more experimental bands like Uriah Heep and Jethro Tull.



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user ratings (9)
Chart.
4.4
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2012


20740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As usual any comments or constructive criticism would be much apprecited.

Digging: Townes Van Zandt - Townes Van Zandt

MO
February 9th 2012


18754 Comments


wow I've actually heard of frijid pink heh

good shit I'm gonna check this out, pos

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2012


20740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks MO.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2012


20740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

By the way thier next album, Split, is just as good as this if not better so check that one out too.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2012


6145 Comments


Good review, pos.

as I'm in a crazy '70s rock drive lately (especially the occult side of it), I may check this out.




criticised

criticized


sepaerates

separates. Alternatively, you can write "distinguishes".

Digging: Raven Throne - ???????? ?????????

CaptainDooRight
February 9th 2012


29390 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Damn so many troll reviews today, this is the only so far I'm willing to comment on.

This looks really interesting. Thanks for sharing I'll check this out.

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III ? Saturnian Poetry

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2012


20740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Voivod, I've corrected those errors.

@CDR: No problem, check out the album Split too.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2012


6145 Comments


These guys have made a lot of albums...

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2012


20740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Indeed. I was going to add thier other albums to the database when I got a chance, it seems you've saved me the trouble. Much appreciated.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2012


6145 Comments


Yeah, took me like 10 min or so.

Whenever i see a band here with a half-completed discog, i add the missing albums, if i have time...

Hope you review some more from these guys.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2012


20740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I may well do. I should review Split at some point seeing as it's my favourite Groundhogs album.

dannyboy89
March 12th 2012


11973 Comments


Can't deny the review is good. However:

Overall Thank Christ for the Bomb is an excellent blues rock album that will appeal to fans of bands such as Cream and Ten Years After as well as fans of more experimental bands like Uriah Heep and Jethro Tull.


I think that last sentence could have used a bit more wording. I also would probably have preferred if you broke up your first paragraph.

But keep up the good work, you certainly got me interested in this band.


JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2012


20740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You have a point, I perhaps should of expanded that a bit in order to make it a proper conclusion. I can't think of anything to add at the moment but I might edit it at some point.

Thanks. You should definitely check this out, I'd recommend it to anyone interested in blues rock.

CaptainDooRight
June 2nd 2012


29390 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I forgot you reviewed this one as well. I remember really liking this too. Would you say this and split ate the main essentials from these guys? Glad I got some for stuff to get.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
June 2nd 2012


20740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this and Split are definitely their best.

CaptainDooRight
June 2nd 2012


29390 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cool thanks for clarifying.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
June 3rd 2012


20740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No probelm man. Some of their other stuff is still worth exploring, Hogwash in particular. Also Tony McPhee's solo album 'The Two Sides of Tony (T.S.) McPhee' is worth a listen.

CaptainDooRight
June 5th 2012


29390 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just got this last night and jammed it twice already today, one of the best albums i've heard ina while

yeah the rating was quick but f it i know what i like

that blues rock is sooooo yummy, couldn't find a link for split but this will keep me very happy for the time being, vox kinda sound like hendrix a tad

jefflebowski
June 5th 2012


8247 Comments


great to see this reviewed, one of the earliest albums i remember hearing - i think i was about 4 at
the time

Digging: Shellac - Dude Incredible

CaptainDooRight
June 5th 2012


29390 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wasn't born yet.



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