Hear The Track HereFirst up this month is a review request through the blog, introducing me (and you now) to a new name, Truth Panel. Bill Nygren, Sten Ardal, David Findlay and Ron Kunitzky make up the band who hail from Toronto, Canada and are - as they say - "men of a certain age". Welp, join the club I say, seems like almost every other musician I meet in this lark could meet that description. Mind you I don't care what age, sex, religion or race you are, so long as the music you make is good. Actually, Toronto has been the base for quite a few of my favourite musicians (unsigned of course) over the years so I'm always a little more inclined to listen to music from there. More especially seeing as we are talking about rock. One of the leading lights a few years ago, which many of you will remember, was the absolutely smoking sound of Soul Dust - although to be fair they were a little more heavy rock/metal than Truth Panel appear to be. Tell you what, say what you like about Canada, the calibre and quality of their unsigned musicians is not to be disputed.
Actually Truth Panel don't remind me of any of the Canadian musicians I have come across over the years and, if I were to judge the band by Away, I'd have said their sound and style had more to do with this side of the pond (ie UK) than Canada. Certainly nothing like a rock oriented as I imagined Away is a very competent, well produced commercial song with none of the usual sound cliches so prevalent with this genre. OK, hand on heart, it's not exactly what I would want to cuddle up with on a cold night, 'it' being a tad on the ballad side - and you know how queasy that can make me. Still, having said that, the band make a very good job of it, with the vocals and backing vocals being of special mention because - whatever the genre - I always go for a bit of class 'oohing' and 'lalala-ing'.
Even though I freely admit to be a ballad-lynching philistine, the track made me want to check out some of the band's other songs to see whether there was anything more 'up my street' (Ed: I try not to think what that might mean). I think being in close proximity to musicians like Cam's Even Song and Cameron Pierce (also Canadians btw) has spoiled me beyond belief, especially when it comes to songwriting. Human Drama is of special note, and much more what I like. Excellent vocals on this too, as is the arrangement and sound. It shows that Truth Panel know what they are about and a welcome addition to my growing folder of Canadian musicians because if Human Drama didn't do the trick, the next track definitely did. Launch Campaign is a knockout song even though - yep you guessed it - it's a ballad, but a rare ballad; one that makes sense musically. It's got some lovely production touches too, reminds me somewhat of the Beatles in their orchestral period. As you can see, they are currently over at Reverbnation but I'm sure Soundclick would be equally as welcoming, we need music like this...
Excellent introduction, one to watch. Highly Recommended rock pop.