In line with his mainstay, Bowling For Soup, Erik Chandler has been crowdfunding this new release on Pledge Music and – as it stands – it’s at 99% funding. Regardless, the album has an August 19th release date and I’d be staggered if it doesn’t hit 100% by then!
The thing is, I’m now in a position to tell you whether or not it’s worth putting your cash forward. After all, it’s a bit of a gamble to pre-order something you’ve heard nothing from. Well… yes. Holy flipping heck, yes. It’s not a “BFS lite” album, and that’s one of its strengths. It’s a solid, bouncy, catchy summertime rock album with soul. It actually reminds me more of Ryan Hamilton’s utterly wonderful Hell of a Day than Chandler’s day-job band, with barely a track reaching four minutes in length.
Erik’s trademark hoarse vocals feature on each track and he’s never sounded so good. Historically, he’s predominantly been paired with Jaret Reddick and – even in the BFS acoustic show – really takes the role of backing vocalist. The Truth allows him to flourish. Fans who picked up his earlier EP Writing The Wrongs will know what to expect. Imagine those four tracks with beefier production and the benefit of another half-decade’s experience behind them. Well, you can actually compare them as the four tracks on that EP are on The Truth along with eight new numbers! Maybe it’s just the MP3 versions compared to my aging CD, but the more recent files sound better.
Like many BFS songs, a lot of the tracks on The Truth are about how crappy love can be. “Tonight’s the Night” is one of those brilliantly bittersweet twisted songs – it’s an absolute rocker, the kind of thing you want to jump about to and smile at… and it’s about leaving someone. It’s back-to-back with the much slower “Anna”, about a relationship already past.
Most of the tracks are upbeat, at least musically, and every single one is something you can sing along to. “It Ain’t Right”, despite its horns and bells with make it sounds like a Christmas number, asks “When did you finally stop trying?” as a couple begin to realise they’re just not right for each other. It’s Chandler’s “Fairytale of New York”. All glitz and cheer until you pay attention to the lyrics.
If there’s a song which does hit home a little more, it’s “You Were Gone”. No need to go into the lyrical content – you can guess it from the title! It’s still a foot-tapper, but just played that little bit differently from other tracks on the album. Immediately after it is “Where Did You Go”, which in terms of beat and intro is the closest thing to a BFS track on here, complete with drum-and-vocal only “clap your hands and go nuts” section.
This is a great album, and you get the feeling that writing it was some kind of therapy for Erik. The one thing that’s sure, though, is that he’s definitely found the right band to work with. If they’re helping him churn out music this good then he better keep hold of them more securely than the protagonists in his songs did with their other halfs!
The Truth drops on August 19th and you can pre-order it via Erik’s Pledge Music Page.