by: Kidman J. Williams
Artist: The Damn Truth
Album: Devilish Folk
Label: Fineline Records/Warner
I was 17 years old, my mind was altered to such a degree that I should have been put into a mental hospital after I decided it was a good idea to climb the balconies to the third floor apartment where the party was popping off; young, dumb, and ready to take on anyone.
There were about 40 pubescent wall-bangers packed into a 2 bedroom apartment, chock full of raging hormones that make teens even more disabled than they already are.
There was case after case of Mickey’s bigmouths, a collection of bottles piling up on the table and counters, and of course a fight at the door while the women were subsequently picking out the alpha male of their choice for the night, and The Damn Truth should have been the soundtrack for this level of irresponsibility.
The Damn Truth is the kind of band that you can not only party to, but you can sit at home and just take it all in with your best pair of headphones. They are the queens and kings of the subtle nuances in the music, seemingly taking lessons from Pink Floyd.
With Lee-La Baum on vocals and guitar, Tom Shemer (lead guitar), Dave Traina (drums), and PY Letellier (bass) they are the winning combination to a lock that we didn’t even know needed to be open.
The Damn Truth are Canada’s answer to the wildly predictable iTunes institution of cookie-cutter hit making.
The Damn Truth’s newest effort ‘Devilish Folk,’ released on Fineline Records/Warner Canada, is the kind of album that you can listen to all the way through, and there aren’t that many of those in the music industry anymore.
This is their sophomore effort to the critically acclaimed debut, ‘Dear in the Headlights.’
It is hard to pick out a highlight for this album when the whole album is one big highlight. The Damn Truth understand the formula to make you move, without actually sticking to any one formula.
On track 3, Plastic Flowers, they catch your attention immediately. Most of the rock songs you hear now hit you counting sheep 4 by 4 with their doldrum downbeat over and over until you fall asleep. This song hits you with a surprising 3 count and then Baum bombs you with her powerhouse vocal style that you feel down into your genitals.
The sixth track, “Heart is Cold” is the not so obvious single. It is a far cry from your predictable pop hit formula, but fully understands the vocal hook and ALWAYS important guitar hook from Shemer with an intensely groovy rhythm from Traina and Letellier.
This track slaps you with Baum’s grit and teeth-bearing style almost reminiscent of Janis Joplin, but I almost don’t want to make that comparison because it does a disservice to her and the band.
I would love to give you a rundown on all the tracks, but I have to keep this short. The sixth track on ‘Devilish Folk’ is “Alex.”
The song kind of switches gears with an angelic clean opening influenced by good ole delta blues. The song hits you with a very “star-crossed lovers” situation; bittersweet, loving, and forlorn.
Alex still gives the power of Baum’s vocals and lets it shine, but you can feel the sadness and grief while she bellows out the pain.
This Canadian foursome gives me hope that true music is not dead; that you don’t need a synth with pre-programmed drums and a basic cute face to sell records. The Damn Truth’s music has all the grit and dirty rhythms that made rock music great while still keeping a pop sensibility.
The Damn Truth express themselves with honesty in a world of devilish folks.