Entertainment Magazine

Truckstop Darlin’ – Hope and the Heart It Breaks

Posted on the 01 November 2012 by Audiocred @audiocred

Perhaps nothing is more characteristic of the last couple years in indie music than the tendency to mine the past for material–whether it be for samples, fidelity, or content, the last half of the 20th Century has just about been pillaged for every unique musical movement it offered us. At first listen, Truckstop Darlin’ seems to fit into that lineage, a roots-rock outfit from Portland that borrows as much from Live as it does from Uncle Tupelo. But the more you listen, the clearer it becomes that the dinged-up dive ballads on Hope and the Heart it Breaks aren’t really a tribute, so much as an unselfconscious progression of a sound that’s been under six feet of earth for almost a decade now.

Sure, there’s no shortage of rock bands that draw on early 90s grunge or mid-western garage rock, but Truckstop Darlin’ play songs that seem to defy the sometimes claustrophobic vibe that bands like Deer Tick or even the Black Keys seem to strive for.

 Truckstop Darlin   Hope and the Heart it Breaks
On “Sad Sweet Songs,”  John Phelan sings, ‘all my heros played guitars and sang their songs out loud, painted pictures with their words and framed them in a crowd,’ an invocation of the sort of rock god mentality that has all but disappeared since the turn of this century.

If that points toward an ambitious approach to music as raw as what’s found throughout Hope and the Heart it Breaks, the production of this album matches up neatly. Songs like “Same Old Story” and closer “They Don’t Mind” feature expansive guitar work that intermingles with a pedal steal to create a sound that seems like it could blow the siding off of a garage. Phelan’s wild growl doesn’t hurt either, and at his throatiest the listener is hard pressed to differentiate him from someone like Chris Shinn.

Like the bands they seem inexorably tied to, Truckstop Darlin’ are at their best when they’re busting out raucous singles. “Dead Roses” is the most enlivening of these, contrasting a simple but resonant progression with Phelan’s snide, ‘who are you, who the fuck are you?’  Of course, the flip side of that equation is that some tracks come across flat, namely “Like Danger and Blood” and “I See You,” songs that share the same ingredients as some of the highlights of the album, but where things don’t quite coalesce.

That being said, it’s hard to take much issue with anything on Hope and the Heart it Breaks. Truckstop Darlin’ know what they like, and they play it well. It’s music that packs a knuckle-cracking punch and makes you wish you were throwing back tallboys, and there’s something kind of simple and beautiful about being satisfied with that.  Some might call it a lack of range, but when you’re having as much fun as Truckstop Darlin’ seems to be, who really gives a damn?

 Truckstop Darlin   Hope and the Heart it Breaks


3 / 5 bars

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