I have to admit of having only been vaguely aware of Sweden’s Truckfighters. I had seen their name on line-ups but that is really as far as it goes. Evidence from my very first play of V and having given the predecessor 2014’s Universe a spin it was immediately clear that this has been totally my loss. From the first song onwards the quality of this three piece was self-evident and V is an incredibly accessible and likeable album. This is the sort of album you will play on repeat, it flows and ebbs and drums away at your conscience in such a way that it is almost impossible to grow bored of it.
By the own admission V isn’t a million miles away from what they have produced before but that doesn’t actually matter because what you get are 7 well crafted, thoughtful, rocking and great songs which stand up by themselves. I know the pressure can often be there to produce something radically different than what you have done before and no-one likes a complete copy of a previous album and this straddles those two positions well. It’s not radically different but nor does it fell like the outtakes of Universe either. If anything it has more stoner rock roots that Universe which for me is slightly more psychedelic in places and perhaps funkier even. V is more expansive, more hard rock, completely and gloriously bass driven.
The album opens with the Epic “Calm Before the Storm” the lead single off the album. It’s a great start as Ozo’s vocals come in to hardly any music before slowly a guitar is added. Although their voices aren’t similar (both have their own individual strengths), its reminds me very much of Pearl Jam in its structure. There’s something very relaxing about this, it’s almost has a late night drive to it. Another band that springs to mind in this early part is My Morning Jacket. There is something very special happening when you can start in such a laid back way and create such an atmosphere and not be boring, the melody on the lyrics puts heed to that. What I like as well is that so many bands go for great diversity within the song and go slow /fast one after another. Truckfighters do not fall into this category and the first musical interlude is laid back. This song builds and builds and the solo in this break really creates a new depth to the song.
“Hawkshaw” hightens the pace of the album with a really heavy bass driven intro, which for me is one of the signatures of album and band. If you are going to be a three piece each member individually has to be a very high standard and these guys are all super talented and this is signified by the lead bass that is relentless throughout this song. Another signature on this album is those laid back melodies, very Americana despite coming from Sweden.
By the time “The 1” kicks in we are now into pure stoner rock category and you will be truly entranced with this album. The way this album flows is another strength, you are slowly drawn in so by the time the rockier songs come along you have already bought into the vibe. The Neil Youngish “Gehanna” continues on the rockier theme and makes you realise how good some of these songs are going to be live. The way the band seem to at times loose themselves in the music comes across really well. It’s actually a particular skill to be able to do this and it’s like stoner rock is meeting dream pop at times. “Gehanna” is one of my favourites on the album.
If we peaked with “Gehanna” then “The Contract” could not really be any better timed, as it continues that melody that rides across this whole album but we are definitely on the come down at the beginning of this song. By this point it’s almost like a tired toddler; moments of sleepiness and clarity interjected by moments of madness and energy as that tiredness really kicks in. Final track “Storyline” is full of big riffs and the vocals float over the top, it’s a great concluder to the rest of the record.
Although stylistically it does not have a lot in common with the analogy |I am about to make; it is another album that reminds me of the mids 00’s scene from the states with bands like Interpol and The Stills. This is purer rock and metal but Truckfighters ability to draw you into their world just by the music alone and to take you somewhere else is the same. This is why this is such an evergreen record. They have created a world, a moment, a memory, a feeling and not just a record. This is a crazily cohesive record that is more of a soundtrack to your life than a record with a start and an end. Do like I did, put it on repeat and enjoy. Time to delve into their back catalogue I feel.