Label: Dine Alone Records
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Monster Truck could easily be another one of those new bands mining old ground without creating anything lasting or memorable. They could be because they tap into vintage rock and roll and also use elements of 90’s grunge, and the millennium stoner sludge revival. They could be, but they are not.
The quartet channel the roots of hard rock music: Proto-metal bands like Dust, Mountain, Uriah Heep and Deep Purple. There is also the usual assortment of soulful and bluesy elements attributed to Led Zeppelin, and the doomy weight of Black Sabbath. Latter day influences seep through as well, including a definite Southern rock flavor found in the likes of classic ZZ Top or The Allman Brothers.
All of the aforementioned influences culminate from the depths of a Canadian quartet. The name Monster Truck capably describes the band’s sound and much like Furiosity‘s cover art, the music is simple. It’s big and muscular, brooks no bullshit, and will steamroll right over the timid or posturing poseurs. They make a point without going to extremes.
What sets Monster Truck and Furiosity apart from so many other of their ilk is the voice of bassist and vocalist Jon Harvey, the organ of Brandon Bliss, and the group’s groove-heavy yet melodic songs that actually stick to your ears like comfort food sticks to your ribs. Guitarist Jeremy Widerman can do sludgy and down-tuned, but he doesn’t get caught up in it. He plays it just dirty and grungy enough to add texture and not overwhelm the songs. His solos are always full of tasty nuances and fall off the bone goodness. Drummer Steve Keily is as solid as they come, offering up a weighty performance with just the right amount of swing.
Perhaps the reason for the band’s carefree and relaxed rock and roll attitude is because the band was never meant as anything serious (though it later became such). It began as a side project that the members called “selfish from the get go.” It was an outlet to cut loose and have fun. The ability to let go of pretense and just play from the heart helps elevate the band’s music: It feels more organic, more real.
Monster Truck wastes no time setting the tone, taking listeners down the tracks on the ballsy, rolling “Old Train”. Classic rock with gang vocals that give off a bit of a gospel vibe. The song makes for a real feel-good 70s era opening to the record. Harvey’s bass just rumbles through like, well, a train. The album’s first single, “Sweet Mountain River” recalls the anthemic greatness of Mountain‘s “Mississippi Queen”.
Furiosity is thick with a soulful, boogie-based blues. There are moments throughout the album’s dozen songs that recall the essence of Foghat. While it’s not readily apparent, Lonesome Dave Peverett’s voice can be heard in Jon’s modest yet bold delivery.
There are modern and alternative touches, as can be discovered in the sonic foundation of “Power of the People” or the grunge throwback groove of “The Giant”.
“Psychics” hits like a flat-out bombastic vintage jam with its driving rhythms. This is one of the album’s quietly addictive gems. Meanwhile, “Oh Lord” has something of a swagger to it and one can’t help but hear a hint, the size of a Chuck Norris fist, of Deep Purple in the mix.
The album’s longest track is the 7:24 slow-moving blues jam, “For the Sun”. This is followed by more heavy boogie-and-roll on the aptly named, “Boogie”. While the tempo changes a bit, that same swing continues on the funked up, “Undercover Love”.
“Call It a Spade”: There’s no mistaking a taste of ZZ Top in Widerman’s riffs. Another of the album’s secret weapons.
They close it all out with a sludgy N’awlins shuffle that carries the listener through the heartbroken blues of “My Love is True” The gospel choir roll-out is a decisively perfect finish to the song and the album.
Monster Truck‘s success rests in its collective ability to craft genuine no frills rock and roll that resonates with fans across the board. Furiosity finds four gifted musicians playing music with heart, from the heart. Let the rock and roll revival begin. Can I get an Amen?