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Until now, geography and grief have impeded the creation of a full-length Terrible Truths album. They formed this trinity back in 2010, and have been slow-dripping out the tracks for the most part of the decade, including the Lift Weights 7″ with NYC label Mexican Summer, and a split release with Melbourne’s Hissey Miyake.
Now that they’re all Melbourne-based, and they can all jam in the same room without first jumping on a plane, Terrible Truths have ramped it up for the year’s close: the band earned themselves a spot at Incubate Festival in the Netherlands, toured with Bedroom Suck label mates Blank Realm, journeyed to Europe to play with Totally Mild, and have now finally released their debut, self-titled album.
The long-awaited debut from Terrible Truths is the tight, angular brawl we expected, but scratch a little deeper to find a much darker beast lurking inside.
The post-punk trio, who cite late-’70s Brit bands like The Au Pairs, Delta 5 and The Slits as inspiration, have always made it their mission to flip convention on its head. Their deubt packs in enormous, infectious energy, harking back to those great and glorious 90s riot grrrl days.
Opener False Hope – pulled from the 5 Years of Bedroom Suck compilation – is all punchy and guttural, with vocals from the gut and heaps of buzzy reverb. Vocalists Rani Rose and Stacey Wilson bat exchanges back and forth, emblematic of the musical style they’ve crafted, and one that’s mirrored throughout the entirety of the album.
Flinty Sink or Swim shows too that they’re never afraid to overlap their scratchy interactions either, but these are instinctive and effortless, rather than jostling interruptions. Stitching it all together is the job of drummer Joe Alexander who is one half of the duo behind Bedroom Suck and also hits things in Scott & Charlene’s Wedding. He, along with Wilson’s bass skills, help construct a rhythmic structure on which Rose’s weaving guitar sits, occasionally lashing out snarling riffs.
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It’s this urgent, enthusiastic setup that’s really the essence of Terrible Truths. Why mess with what works? Lift Weights edges in some anthemic moments, Sink or Swim boats some fantastically skittish signatures and Don Juan slides in smoother tones. Essentially there’s a kind of logic to it: the undercurrent held in place by Alexander and Wilson, with Rose’s smudgy melodies, brash and energised, laid over the top packing in erratic tempos.
Terrible Truths is akin to an iceberg though: what’s visible on the surface isn’t indicative to what’s lurking underneath. On the surface it’s a sanguine record – the musical cogitations of a tightknit, invigorated bunch of mates whose roots go way back. Scratch a little deeper into the lyrics though and the nuance is much darker, spitting reflections and ripostes of anxiety, fear and paranoia, laying bare some very raw emotions. It’s maybe no surprise then that the album was recorded during a period of personal loss. And that knowledge makes for much darker listening. Ultimately, Terrible Truths call for nothing less than angular movement on their debut LP, you just need to take the time to savour the sentiment behind it.
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