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on 5 December 2002
Every trend has a life span, and every trend has its casualties - and like every scene, the Seattle 'grunge' boom of the nineties was no different. Unfortunately, Truly (made of ex-members of Screaming Trees, Soundgarden, & The Storybook Crooks) were caught up and lost in the wave of obscurity that seemed to follow after the original Seattle bands upped sticks and left for multi-million tours and record-deals. Which is a shame: not for the band - but for the world, because most of the world never got to hear this album. I first heard them on the radio in '94 with the barely controlled mania of 'Four girls', and searched high and low 'til I found this album on import: it was worthy every moment tracking it down and every penny.
On this, their debut, Truly chew up and spit out the 'grunge' stereotypes and straddle the thin line between elegant blissed out genius and fuzzed out fury like musical gymnasts, making an album that is by turns, progressive and psychedelic (in the truest sense), stripped down and angry, and yet always passionate - something that sets them apart from the majority of other post-nirvana Seattle bands from the '90's. Most tracks on the album feature Robert Roth's skilled use of the Mellotron, adding an eerie, unsettling feeling on the likes of 'Virtually', 'Hot Summer 1991' and 'Angelhead' reminiscent of Arthur Lee's best work with Love. '60's comparisons are unavoidable, especially on the doors-esque 'If you Don't Let It Die' and 'Leslie's Coughing Up Blood'. The eight minute 'Hurricane Dance' is the album's masterpiece, building up tension and ebbing and flowing between chaos and restraint like Nirvana did, except in a completely different sense with Robert Roth's mesmerising vocals and exotically weird guitar sequences and a rhythm section only matched by Kyuss.
This is a lost classic, and is one of the few albums that I can still spin listen after listen without getting complacent about, always hearing things in the mix that I'd forgot about or never heard before. If you were a fan of the broadscope of Seattle music, or are into modern psychedelia and stoner rock, then this should have pride of place in your collection beside those Green River and Kyuss albums. Truly only lasted for another full length album (the slightly less intense and more commercial 'Feeling You Up') and a outtakes collection ('Twilight Curtain') and although these are worthy of looking into also, nothing Truly did after this album matched the scope, majesty, quality or consistency of the debut. A lost classic from one of the best bands you never got to hear. Buy now - tune in. You'll never regret that you did.
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on 17 December 2006
I first came across Truly via Screaming Trees. After picking up the Trees first release without original drummer, Mark Pickerel, I wanted to see what he was doing. (Not to say I was disappointed by the drumming on Sweet Oblivion - far from it, as Barrett Martin is a phenomenal drummer.) The first Truly release I picked up was their "Heart and Lungs" ep, which is good - but nothing compared to this, their masterpiece. If what is loosely called grunge (I hate the label, but it will suffice here) met prog, then you would have Truly: a warped, visceral, punked out, psychedelic soundscape. The mellotron, that beloved instrument of so many prog bands, was never used within such a monumentally heavy, and unrelentingly bleak blast of art rock instrumentation and lyrics. It is clear that this album is a concept album. It is not so clear what that concept is, but it is clearly not nice. Yet somehow the album is an easy listen in spite of all the melancholic doom and gloom.

Back in the day, it was inevitable that if people were going to listen to Truly one of the reasons would be the rhythm section of former members of Soundgarden (original bassist Hiro Yamamoto) and Screaming Trees (original drummer Mark Pickerel), but they are in their element here - and able to let loose in a way they never could in their previous bands, especially in the longer tracks where intricate arrangements and changing time signatures swirl in a precarious balance. (Or, perhaps, imbalance may be a more appropriate term when the musical becomes deliberately dischordant.) Basically, don't come to this show if you're expecting a combination of the breezy psychedelic rock of early Trees, and punky heaviness of early Soundgarden: instead you are going to be confronted with something more akin to the psychedelic rock of early Doors, and proggy heaviness of Tool.

It is criminal that this album was barely noticed by critics or consumers - or even the record company which should have been promoting it. This was a band playing with passion and power and originality. Though they took the psychedelia of Screaming Trees, the heaviness of Soundgarden, and were revisiting the sounds and ideals of prog, they were doing so in innovative and inventive ways - much as, in their own quite different way, Radiohead were doing some five years later. Radiohead were acclaimed for their efforts, but perhaps this was because they were already well-known and established. Truly were anything but, so to put out such a bizarre album (with accompanying bizzare concept) as a debut album was rather audacious - or perhaps foolhardy. Nevertheless, we should be glad they did. It is unlikely I am doing anything but preaching to the converted, as I cannot really imagine someone discovering Truly in this day and age, but I sincerely hope that someone might chance upon this review, read this far, and take a chance. It will be well worth your while!
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on 10 August 2006
Well I dunno if it's the bassist, but Soundgarden after Hiro Yamamoto didn't sound the same. Surely it wasn't the bassist? Well I guess it was, because there is a very similar soundy feel to this truly album as there is to Screaming Life ep and all the others upto Louder than Love.

Have to say I only stumbled on this album, as I am a Soundgarden fan and was looking up to see what happened to the elusive Yamamoto. It appears that he was equally elusive when in Truly. I am quite a fan of this sort of stuff but had never heard of this band till last week! This album (or even band) are one of those lost gems, like when you learn of a big underground revolution that happened only 5years ago, that you were completely unaware of, but really intrigues you to find out more. I don't think these were a revolution but definitely underrated from what I have found. I am glad I found out about this band and album.

It has, as I said, a feel to it like early Soundgarden, especially the Screaming Life ep, and an overall psychedelic feel to it like the Badmotorfinger Soundgarden album. But it is a hell of a lot moodier.

The vocals are lucid and sounds ride over themselves in a dreamy way, kinda like that 'Mohammed' song by the Dandy Warhols. It's quite a rare album I feel in that sense. It is very much the sort of thing to have on in a storm when the air is heavy. Very cool moody sounds from this CD, lots of modulation effects and echo/reverb.

All the tracks on this album are rather epic and give you a lot to listen to. It really is a listening album rather than something to hear.

I can't recommend it enough if you like Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, Screaming Trees;(the drummer is from Screaming Trees) or any other early 90's alternative stuff. This really is worth its weight in gold and is a true quality album. I get the impression it was made to fulfil some musical ambitions to create a quality album rather than sell lots of copies. Hence its unknown and unpublicised status and all round originality.

Heres the cliche - 95% Killer 5% Filler.

Buy it you wont regret it! I've been on Amazon for about 7years now and this is the first review I have felt compelled to do, so that says it all really!

Check out the myspace page for some sound clips, [...]
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