Released on Tidelines, a quasi-label for unsigned artists to release their own material, _Truth and Lies is Essex boy **Jake Searson**’s first album. One part metal, one part punk, this is eleven tracks and thirty-seven minutes of punk rock and songs about girls, death and.. er.. wanking? Consider _'You’re Gone''s opening line _"I just got dumped again and now my only friend is my left hand" to be the benchmark of what lies ahead.
Opener _'Breaking The Mould' sets the pace adequately, in that it is more pop-punk than rock, with some bored-sounding low vocals before hitting some high wailing in the chorus. At this point, it’s all a bit like 'The Kids Are Alright' by **the Offspring, and come the bridge we have some almost identical pop-punk widdly guitar noodling. Second track _'Reject (By Choice)' continues with this pastiche of late 90s-era rock with some rap-metal. An actually-quite-good opening metal riff is backed with a spoken-word Cypress Hill-style rap, complete with a fake American accent. Hey, I don't know about you but personally I didn’t get enough of **Limp Bizkit, KoRn, Linkin Park or any other grown men telling me they just don’t fit in because of the clothes they wear over the last six or seven years.
Aside from the occasional faux-American twang in the vocals, it’s not that the songs here are particularly poorly delivered, they're just heavily recycled and the temptation to skip over the majority of them is far too strong. This might sound harsh, but consider this: two tracks in, you’ve heard nearly everything this album has to offer. Every song chugs along on a wave of distorted power chords, initially punk, emo or metal, then breaks into a pop-punk chorus which occasionally brushes metal. There are a couple of exceptions to the formula, just to break up the onslaught: firstly an acoustic rendition of _'When Butterflies Collide' sees an acoustic guitar drenched in reverb with layers of whispering behind it. It may be a bit Nickleback, a bit too Creed, but at least it’s not more of the same. I guess you can also say that about _'Nice Guy', a light-hearted take on a rude boy being told to fuck off by girls, delivered in an Essex boy chav accent. See "I tooted my horn and yelled 'You Fancy A Shag?' / She put up her middle finger and said 'Fuck Off, You Fag'"" for more details. Even if this song is a joke there are other tracks present on this album which aren’t so, yet still deal in swearing for the hell of it. 'Barley Lane'’s lyrics are occasionally indecipherable, but those which are take playground swearing to a new high: _"Shit fuck cunt shit fuck"", and the charming _"Fuck the system, fuck your mother, fuck your brother, fuck your father" being... er... ‘highlights’.
Probably the biggest drawback of Truth and Lies, aside from its unrelenting averageness, is its lack of identity. Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with releasing a CD which takes in more than one element of rock – here, we have Finch-esque emo, Maiden-esque classic rock, some nu-metal rap-rock and heavy pop punk influences – the inconsistency involved in singing one song like a 1980s American rock god, the next like a depressed Funeral For A Friend fan and the next like an angry Essex boy thug while your backing arrangement is more or less the same every time makes this sound unpolished and disorganised, and when you think about the strength and depth of some of the unsigned acts around, _Truth and Lies’ unimaginative linear approach almost brings a tear to the eye.
Let’s get one thing straight: Drowned in Sound LOVES the DIY ethic. As the Major labels continue to dominate the profitable side of the music industry and more than a few of the indies struggle to fund the next release, the idea of labels giving the little guy a chance is admirable, but this is a CD of uninspiring rock-based dirge no different to the kind churned out at any local music night anywhere in the country. You could never fault Mr Searson for having the guts to put his stuff on display, and there are some nice flashes of metal present in most tracks, but once the drink-driving tale and closing track _'Concrete and Street Lamps' fades out with a flatline, you’d be hard pushed to bring yourself to press play again. Hey, whatever happened to Andrew WK?
2ben marwood's Score