Thunderball – 12 Mile High

Thunderball – 12 Mile High

For Thunderball, music has always been about reaching for something bigger and better. Known for their impressive compositional skills, there’s never been much in the way of making such fashionable music. And although the electronic gems that Thunderball create are steadfast and mercurial, 12 Mile High features an introspective band that looks to take a tight turn with their latest album.

Although the cinematic pressure is still all around, Thunderball have no worries taking the music into completely new direction. “Make Your Move,” which features Mustafa Akbar, fuses the atmospherics of travelling on a plane with a ?uestlove-inspired drum set. Setting the mood with a smooth R&B blend, Akbar sparkles with a guest appearance that was fittingly masterful for him to step into. “You’ve got something to prove, go on and make your move,” he sings and for Thunderball, they’re poised to move onward and upward from here.

While the album opens with a sitar-drenched, worldly experience with “Enter the Brahmin,” there is a great deal of substance to Thunderball’s music. As one of the members to Thievery Corporation’s label, the electronic trio joins the strands of the music into one unifying theme of ambition. The songs bristle with a peaceful energy that outlasts any kind of prior inclination and each member provides such an immense knowledge of live instrumentation and beats that the chemistry is, without question, stellar. Like on “Low Down Leather,” the vibraphone and the snarling beats are a stark contrast – with an electric, bluesy guitar in the middle to further fragment the streams – but with a knack for twisting the uneasiness into an elevated stance, Thunderball simply allow the song to chug on its own. Nothing is ever rushed and, instead, it all sounds confidently assured in its creation and overall sequencing.

One of the best words to describe Thunderball’s music would simply be, cinematic. As small as that may seem, the sheer adjective of being cinematic contains a plethora of moving aspects. There’s the fact that, as a whole, the music is entirely enveloping and that even when they’re pushing with every fiber of their being to be diverse and to showcase a litany of styles, the Washington D.C. trio is always aiming for something greater. On “To Catch a Vixen,” the band deploys the swirl of strings and synths to drive home a compelling blend of mystery and corruption. This leads fantastically into the album’s closer, “Penthouse Soul.” A bubbling bass line joins an effervescent flute player into the guitar-infused closer. It’s as if 12 Mile High is their soundtrack for a movie, albeit one we have never seen before. Instead, Thunderball prefers for us to depict our own image to their music and, when the sounds are this imaginative, the possibilities are endless.

ESL Music