I heard the first single from this album and was grabbed immediately by the music and the powerhouse vocals. The Damn Truth have been around for several years now (which has me getting caught up on the back catalog too), and this album should make them a lot more fans. ‘Now or Nowhere’ is their 3rd album over the course of their 9 years of existence. Their sound conjures images of hard rock, a hippie vibe, powerhouse hooks, and originality being stuffed into a blender. This is a 2021 album that I can write down as a strong album of the year contender.

‘This is Who We are Now’ doesn’t so much open the album as rip the door off and throw it 100 miles away. The music is huge, and the chorus knocks your head off with Lee-la Baum’s powerhouse vocals (also guitar) delivering a statement of intent. This is a killer hard rock song without those vocals but soars to another level with them. Tom Shemer opens up ‘Tomorrow’ with a cool guitar riff that burns like a fuse to unleash the groove by PY Letellier (bass/vocals) and Dave Traina (drums/vocals). This is another huge chorus that needs to be played on the radio. What has struck me with this song is that it would have been right at home on the radio in the 90’s, early, 2000’s and up through the current.

The gorgeous slow start to ‘Only Love’ gives way to another great rock song where Baum’s vocals would be stealing the show if it wasn’t for the equal excellence of everyone in the band. The vocal notes in the chorus and the inflections induce feeling positive and smiling in me which is a neat trick for someone who can quite enjoy going into the depths of darkness in songs. The rhythmic ‘Lonely’ builds from a campfire song to the whole city singing in unison. Perhaps my biggest grief of the entire album is with this song because it is not long enough… At less than three minutes, I would love to see this one go on as about seven or eight minutes live. The midpoint of the album arrives with the semi acoustic based ‘Everything Fades’ feeling like a long lost 70’s treasure that has resurfaced in today’s world. Baum again delivers an absolutely killer vocal that carries heart, grit, hope, love, perseverance, and more.

The back half of the album begins with an inferno with ‘The Fire’ which reminds me a bit of Soundgarden in its power. The song then carries forward on musical waves which just totally blackout anything going on around me. The lead guitar work from Shemer shines throughout this record with this song simply being another standout. ‘Look Innocent’ could have come from the likes of Big Brother and the Holding Company with Baum’s vocals her reminding me of Janis Joplin and Sass Jordan. The backing vocals in the chorus are also perfectly placed. This song digs deep into my heart as the music and vocals are equally powerful.

‘Full on you’ finds another great groove by Leterrier and Traina which then has a great transition into the chorus before falling back into the groove. Another musical reference for The Damn Truth for me would be the much missed Mother Station. Shemer lets loose another great guitar solo. As a finale, the band turns to the beautiful ‘Shot ‘Em’ where the band take an acoustic intro into an epic chorus and have created, for lack of another term, a great power ballad that closes the album in style.

This is an incredible album that has laid the gauntlet for 2021. Bob Rock produces six of the nine songs on here, and I will say that I did not pay attention to see which ones are his productions. The production on the album is killer throughout and sounds cohesive across all nine songs. I will continue to enjoy this stream until I can buy the actual release which should be a mandatory purchase for the world in 2021.


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Author: Gerald Stansbury