True Love: self-titled

True Love
True Love
Cropduster
2001-03-14

Well, here’s yet another band that sounds like they’re ready to have some hits. Will anyone listen? Let’s hope so. For True Love definitely has a knack for tight harmonies, plenty of hooks, and 14 short power pop tunes on their brand new debut that should suit just about anyone who has been craving this kind of music. It sounds very radio-friendly, but whether or not the band gets played on the FM remains to be seen.

Comprised of three musicians (the Squirrel on vocals and guitars, Ray Kubian on vocals and drums, and Keith Hartel on vocals and bass), True Love will probably have you waxing nostalgic for such artists as Elvis Costello, Cheap Trick, and a whole lot of other bands that you’ll seemingly have on the tip of your tongue but can’t quite place. But where lots of other power pop bands like this can be merely derivative of their heroes, True Love makes their tunes every bit as good as those of their idols. This album bears repeated listening. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but then the more I listened, the more I liked.

“Foreign Fiction Books” sounds like Elvis Costello circa Armed Forces with a hint of Mighty Like a Rose thrown in for good measure (think “The Other Side of Summer”). An interesting feat in itself. “Why Did You Change Your Mind?” sounds like it could fit on Cheap Trick’s Heaven Tonight, and “Better Living Through Chemistry” brings to mind such bands as Weezer. In a nutshell, it all works. That’s mainly thanks to each of the members of the group taking turns singing lead. And each of these guys can hold a nice, tight tune with no problems at all.

The obvious single here seems to be the short and sweet “Hey Man”, an ode to the music biz and popularity (“Say a prayer for my demo,” goes one line). The bridges break down into a kind of “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” rhythm, and near the end the guitars slip into a nice little flange effect that recalls a bit of the good old Eighties. What more could you want? If “Hey Man” doesn’t sucker you in the first time you give this album a listen, then perhaps the harmonies in “Better Living Through Chemistry” and “Wrong” will, if not the melodies in “Why Did You Change Your Mind?” and “Baby’s Little System”.

The only fault I see with the album is that those catchy melodies and hooks tend to fizzle out around the tenth track, “The Elevator Falls”. Had this album stopped right there at 10 songs, then this would have been a perfect album. As it stands, the remaining tracks like “(Get Your) Ass (In Gear)” and “All Lovers Are Doomed” begin to get a little weary on the clever scale when compared to the first two-thirds of the disc. But in reality, it’s a minor complaint. The truth is that True Love has what it takes to make great albums and (hopefully) a solid career to last long enough to release the increasingly rare sophomore disc. Let’s hope they do, because this one’s definitely a winner.

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