The Truths - Above All
Owain Paciuszko 04/12/2010
Miracle Drug has the fingerprints of Suede all over it, from the rapid flurrying guitar, the more melodic bass lines and the reverby Brett Anderson-like vocals of lead singer Anthony Neale. Unfortunately, it's pretty Suede-lite, with a limp chorus of 'Your love is a like a miracle drug, it takes me higher and higher and higher above...' Meanwhile Triptych had a grander, rockier vibe that works better for the band, climaxing in arch riffs that warrant tongue-in-cheek head-banging.
They throw in a piano led ballad called Everybody's Crying Inside, which has a fairly basic chord progression tugging at the heart strings with all the persistence of a stroppy child trying to get their parent's attention. As the track shifts into its burgeoning choruses it falters even moreso, feeling like 'emotional rock song by numbers', which is disposably listenable but lacking in a genuine connection between the listener and the song, the music and the lyrics. As it moves towards its conclusion, the drums in particular feel tentative when they should be the heartbeat of a euphoric rise in passion, and the rest of the instruments follow suit. We're back in baggy rock territory with Against Perfection which feels like The Music with its twangly guitar riff, whizzy synths and the high, squawked vocals.
Strangers builds nicely, with a rickety Spanish-influenced guitar sound, though the song's sentiment of 'Strangers are friends we are yet to meet' is a tad mawkish. Elsewhere Sound You Out sees the group go a bit Kasabian, a territory where you can pretty much get away with any lyric as long as they're stuffed between big swaggeing riffs, and sure enough they deliver the rock-sandwich with some skill. A similar cocksure attitude can be found on Speed of Life with Dave Neale's drums thudding out a defiant strut, ultimately though the track sounds like The Bluetones in a surprisingly anthemic mood and - cheesy classic rock bridge and all - it works pretty well, especially on the spine-tingling refrains of 'There's comfort in you/But there's anger in me...'
Insipid emotive rocker Moth To A Flame seems to serve as not much more than a change of pace, and sounds curiously like an East 17 Christmas single at points. Jumpcut puts thing back into familiar territory, its bubbly bassline and Anthony's echoing vocal a good balance and joined by a pleasingly squeaky guitar all rattling towards a splutterd, frenzied preamble towards atmospheric and epic choruses that sound similar to electro-folkster Merz. Fear Is The Key represents what, by this point in the record, is The Truths modus operandi, melodic indie-rock with a commercial bent, it's disposable, there's more fun to be had with the shifting opening to Hit The Streets which has a pleasingly dopey call to arms of 'So come on, come on, we gotta hit the streets right now!'
Closing track What Fuels is arranged similarly to Jumpcut, shifting from its lighter verses towards climatic choruses, though ending the record with a fade out is a shame. Whilst it's an apt track to close the record, this is an album that could have done with a little bit of editing, reigning its twelve tracks down to ten would've helped the flow of the record (my first instinct; ditch the ballads). Sure there's nothing wrong with a good long album, but there are a handful of tracks here that, though I'm certain the band are very happy with them, they serve as mere filler and detract from the record's pace and energy.
It seems that this debut LP from the Cornish five piece has been waiting for release since early 2008, it's influences seem drawn more from the early-to-mid nineties British pop-rock scene and it would be interesting to hear how this band's sound has developed sitting on this album for a couple of years. They're a decent group, but the eventual release of this record may be more detrimental to the band if they have indeed moved on musically since its conception.