Thunderbirds collects the highlights of Barry Gray's scores for the cult-classic British marionette TV series, including the show's soaring, brassy opening theme and tense pieces like "Sun Probe." As with the rest of the show, Gray's score sends up the spy and action/adventure conventions of the '60s very stylishly and subtly; tracks like "Monorail to Disaster From 'The Perils of Penelope'" and "The Fate of the Sidewinder" are only slightly more over the top than the scores for the James Bond films or for TV series like The Prisoner. Thunderbirds is also an effective time capsule, with pieces such as "Thunderbirds Are Go!" capturing the flashy, mod side of the British spy genre and "Dangerous Game -- Latin Rhythm Instrumental From 'The Cham Cham'" reflecting the '60s' ongoing fascination with exotica and Latin pop. "The Man From MI.5" segues cleverly from a Peter Gunn-like melody to sleek jazz, while "Dangerous Game From 'The Cham-Cham'," which features vocals by secret agent/femme fatale Lady Penelope, could be a kissing cousin to seductive spy themes like "Goldfinger." Die-hard Thunderbirds fans will be almost as pleased with the collection's extensive liner notes as they will be with its music: The CD booklet includes an essay on Barry Gray's work and the process of gathering and restoring his music, the original tapes of which had been sitting in a garage for over two decades. Detailed technical notes on each track included on the collection provide fascinating commentary on the recording processes and plot points of the episodes for which these pieces were written. Offering plenty of style and thrills, Thunderbirds is a collection crafted with nearly as much affection and attention to detail as the show that inspired it.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares