It’s easy to see how the group, made up of MCs Tuka and Jeswon as well as producers Morgs and Poncho, has reached a high level of commercial success since the release of their last studio album, So We Can Remember. With beats that can be as slick as they can be jagged, raw and uncut, Thundamentals’ unparalleled production not only compliments the sheer smoothness of the two MCs, but is vital to their delivery.
Everyone We Know comes after nearly three years in the studio for the Blue Mountains-based crew, acting as a follow-up to their ground-breaking third album, So We Can Remember, which proved to be a huge commercial hit. Already with two popular singles from the album (Think About It and Never Say Never), it’s clear that the group has cemented their place at the top of Hip-Hop in Australia alongside acts such as Bliss N Eso and Hilltop Hoods.
As expected, the album is jam-packed with light horns, easy-going guitar riffs and faded drum loops that have come to characterise Thundamentals’ music. Tracks such as Déjà Vu and Sally have the rappers toying with stunning melodies and cadences, incorporating female vocalists to deliver something along the lines of auditory bliss.
With a host of hit songs that you’d expect from the Thundamentals, comes a more dominating style of music that they have often toyed with, however, have never created on the scale apparent in Everyone We Know. Tunes like Wyle Out Year, Wolves and Ignorance is Bliss are representative of the groups ever-evolving character, with dark, trap-induced, vibe-heavy sounds that turn heads, opening new doors for the Thundacats.
Not only do these audacious tracks leave listeners head-banging their way through the album, they also tend to act as vehicles for the conscious Hip-Hop group to express their passionate political and personal views.
Wolves, a belligerent single that the crew released just prior to the album, condemns Sydney’s lockout laws, particularly taking swipes at New South Wales’ former “blood sucker” of a premier, Mike Baird. Historically, the four-man crew hasn’t refrained from expressing their discontent at the controversial restrictions on Sydney’s nightlife, labelling the past government “unsupporting” of the local music culture. Similarly, the accusatory Ignorance Is Bliss tackles matters prevalent amongst modern society, confronting issues of racism, misogyny and homophobia.
“When I hear a white person whinging about how really they don’t see privilege, I’m like, you’re a straight up idiot”
Adding to the diversity of music on the 15-track album is the sombre Blue Balloons (B.B’s Song), an ode to a young fan who passed away after falling off a balcony in New South Wales’ Central Coast.
“I wrote this for my friend, a friend I never knew”
The death of Jarrod Samson-Hills inspired the group to reach out to their fans via social media, inviting their followers to text a special hotline before contacting each one individually.
The Thundamentals enjoyed contacting their fans, “It was so fascinating getting to know everyone. A lot of people feel so isolated at the moment and we’re trying to find a way to use social media to make an authentic and genuine experience – engaging with people as much as we can.”
Ultimately, the tragedy of Samson-Hills’ death “really pushed the idea of the album”, based on the philosophy that we are all interconnected beings and that communication is vital to humanity. Meant as a continuation of the groups’ previous album, the title Everyone We Know acts solemnly as a representation of the understanding of death’s finality: So We Can Remember… Everyone We Know.
All in all, Everyone We Know is a resounding success. Though it may not reach the same heights as So We Can Remember amongst the pop community, Thundamentals’ fourth studio album has something for die-hard fans and mainstream listeners alike. Their most experimental, audacious and well-rounded album to date has everything you’d expect from the group, plus more. Blending genres and styles seamlessly, Everyone We Know will most definitely go down as one of the greatest Australian releases of 2017.
“This album is a celebration of all of our stories and voices: my voice, your voice and the stories of everyone we know.”
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Written by Conal Feehely