Flashback Friday Album Review: Thunder Beach

Like last week’s look at Dakota Motor Co., it seems like a good time to look at another summery CD. Thunder Beach is the perfect title for something summery, dontcha think?

This 1987 release is from a band that, like last week’s, was from California and stayed there. Crumbacher produced the 80s Christian music’s best synth-laden sound that mixed New Wave and an occaisional dash of “California Wave” west coast vibes, which was certainly unique for the 80s Christian market.

Thunder Beach is no exception. Some of their best, and most well-known songs are on this album. Songs such as the album opener, “Backyard Changes” and then a rhythmic digital percussion introduces us to one of their hits, “Once in a Heartbreak,” with one of their most beautiful ballads (if not their best), “Here I am” coming next. Rounding out Side 1 is the concert crowdpleaser and awesome 80s dancy pop tune, “Great Little Dancer” and then the bright, “Way With Words.”

Side 2 starts with one of the band’s best songs, the album title, “Thunder Beach,” and then another great, memorable ballad, “Tough Act to Follow.” That’s over half of the album highlighted right there. To finish off the album, the band gives us another catchy synth-pop tune, “Middle of a Miracle,” the almost childlike instrumental, “Terra Firma,” and the soft, “Only Time” to close.

Along with the California New Wave/synth-pop sounds, Stephen Crumbacher’s uniquely sweet, soft voice backed predominantly by Dawn Wisner, helped lend to the uniqueness of the band’s sound. Sure, today, the 80s synths are a bit outdated, but good songwriting and impressive performances like this and other Crumbacher albums, never really goes out of style.

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