If there’s one band that can provide unadulterated hard rock in their own inimitable style, it’s Monster Truck. Endorsed by some of the finest names in rock and touring with even more (and Nickelback), they’re a band who have honed their chops and know how to deliver consistently whether it’s their live performances or their albums.
True Rockers, their third album, proves to be no exception to that rule. They’re not reinventing the wheel or even their own. But that’s not what Monster Truck have ever been about. They want to celebrate everything that makes the genre so special. There’s always been songs about it and Monster Truck have added to the pile themselves over the years and opening song (and almost-title-track) “True Rocker” dials their own take on it to the proverbial eleven. Then there’s the monologue provided by Dee Snider. He brings it to the twelve mark with an impassioned speech about the power of rock and roll and how it will never die to the point you want to stand up and shout “Testify!”
Elsewhere, True Rockers is Monster Truck by numbers, in the best possible way. Big grooves, big choruses and even bigger riffs. If you’ve heard their previous albums, then you know what to expect. However, they still find room to move in their niche, they’re able to show how different unapologetic hard rock can sound yet tie it together into making an album full of Monster Truck songs.
Songs like “Thundertruck”, “Being Cool is Over” and the appropriately-titled “Hurricane” is full of the characteristic unbridled hard rock fury you’d expect from the Canadians. Meanwhile, “Devil Don’t Care” and closer “The Howlin’” blend Southern and bluesy swagger for tamer moments. But then there’s “Young City Hearts”, lodged firmly in the middle of the album. The only way to describe this is the bastard child of new wave and hard rock. It shouldn’t work. But it does. And it’s genius. To the point where it may be the best song on the album.
Certainly, if that last track is anything to go by, this is an album where the band are kicking back and having fun. Whilst its predecessor may have had darker lyrical themes and music that was more raw and gritty in reflection of it, this one is several shades lighter and fun. The songs are a perfect reflection of that with only two of them crossing the four minute threshold. They say what they have to and don’t waste time in doing so.
What’s immediately obvious about the songs is that each of the eleven on True Rockers are intended to be played live. Monster Truck were a breath of fresh air in 2013 with their debut album. Five years down the line with another couple of albums under their belt and they’ve refined themselves to become a better version without having to push their sound forward. Instead, they’ve doubled down, made another album they want to and thankfully, it speaks to enough people that it keeps people coming back to the well.
True Rockers is released on 14th September