Although they've been inspiring young artists for a few decades now, there are still plenty of bands today trying to emulate Cheap Trick; there are also an unforeseen number of groups trying to channel the spirit of Jellyfish. But surprisingly few manage to blend the power-pop crunch of the Trick with the impressive harmonies of the 'Fish. Perhaps True Love doesn't always provide the perfect combination of both artists across the board, but they succeed more often than you might expect. If such a combination even remotely piques your curiosity, however, it may well be time for you to contact Not Lame Records and check out the band's latest album, entitled I Was Accident.
True Love first appeared in 1999, releasing their self-titled debut in 2001 on Cropduster Records, a label which may or may not be in existence any longer, given that their website (http://www.cropduster.com) wasn't active as of this writing. On the CDBaby.com page for the album, however, the release is described as "kick ass power pop in the grand tradition of Guided By Voices, The Beatles and Big Star". The Beatles I can see, and maybe the Big Star if I stand on my tiptoes, but I dunno where the GBV comparison really comes in, except as ass-kissing in order to get the Bob Pollard quote that's posted on CD Baby, where he gushes, "That's good freakin' power pop!"
Since their Cropduster release, True Love spent some time backing ex-Television guitarist Richard Lloyd, a man who knows his way around power pop, having himself spent time backing Matthew Sweet; Lloyd thoughtfully returned the favor, contributing lead guitar to a track on I Was Accident ("Throwing Back the Ring"). Producer Wayne Dorell stuck with the band as well, opting to man the boards for the second time running.
The band begins the proceedings on I Was Accidentby deciding to "Burn Rubber" from the get-go. The song, though only two and a half minutes, is an instant showcase for both the band's three-part power harmonies and the ability of all three of its members to shred on guitar when the need arises. It says, "If you're here for a lighthearted soft-pop romp, this is probably not the place for you." It's followed by "Mr. Sad", which continues the harmonies, this time driven by all the jangly guitar a pop song could ask for. And that's definitely "driven" rather than "led." It's not a light, Byrdsy number, despite the appearance of what sounds suspiciously like a Rickenbacker toward the middle of the track; it's definitely a full-on power pop song, with emphasis on the power. "Now", however, could pass for a Graham Parker or Elvis Costello song from the mid-'80s, and "The Genius" is a nugget not far removed from the Connells' Ring.
Ironically, "Ilovegirlswholoverockandroll" doesn't actually rock at all; it's a languid, moody song that's reminiscent of the verses of Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box", except there's no killer chorus. Thankfully, it's back to the power pop with "Heartache To Come", but then "Don't Mean Anything" is back to the slower pace again, which is revisited once more a few songs later with "Service Of the Knife". These tracks aren't bad, but they aren't what True Love do best.
True Love have come a reasonable distance since their debut album; based on I Was Accident, if this artistic and musical growth continues, the next album should be a real pop force to be reckoned with.