So as a final push to finish up the entire discography of AAF as well as in correlation to our first gig review, we wanted to touch up upon their album TruANT; perhaps the album that changed the bands outlook until this day. With help from Stone Temple Pilots and riding off of the ‘Platinum’ status ANThology album, surely this album was written in the stars as a goliath hit?
The album opens up with two tracks; 1000 Days and Drifting Apart. It was immediate from the start that the band decided to adopt a more groove rock sound as well as showcasing their nu-metal upbringing. 1000 Days is a pretty fun, short and sweet track to open the album with a bit of impact, but isn’t the most memorable song. It has a nice pre-chorus and a sweet riff, but the drums sound a bit clangy/roomy making the production quality feel more like an independent EP than blockbuster album track. Driftinf Apart is a strong standalone song however with a great quality about it, a fantastic riff and a hook in the chorus that really shows off Dryden’s snarl type vocals well. It could of done with a big guitar solo though just to bring out the bridge more; it flattens out and repeats a little by not deciding to stick to its hard rock roots.
Quiet follows that up and adds a different flavour to the mix, one full of groove with a catchy as heck bass line. Tye proves himself as usual with fantastic decoration and progressions; an incredibly underrated performance. I must admit though again the chorus isn’t particularly memorable with strumming being the priority and the melody for the vocals lacking any depth or innovation. It’s frustrating because each song has the potential of either being a great groove rock song, or a brilliant nu metal classic, but it ends up falling short and being stuck in the middle .
Glow however knows exactly what it is and I’d go so far to say that it is the best song on the record. It has a catchy as hell chorus, a descending acoustic guitar chordal shift that plays off the tongue and cheek lyrics well and it actually shows that band having fun. Finally a guitar solo too! A cracker of a blues solo over a fun acoustic rock track always works well, sure it’s cheesy but it lifted the track up and gave the guitar something memorable to show the audience which is what many of the tracks were crying out for on the album.
These Days is another catchy tune more more along the lines of ANThology. It’s raw, it’s aggressive, it satires the time period in the lyrics and it is genuinely memorable. There is no wonder behind why this track was so popular in comparison to the rest since it didn’t feel forced and like Glow it felt like the guys just having fun playing around with a new riff and bashing some hot drum sequences.
Sarah Wynn and Never Meant come next but again I can’t particularly fault what they were trying to do here. Sarah Wynn is a grunge rock classic that is tenacious and knuckle clenching; very similar to Whisper and Sticks and Stones off of the first album. Funnily enough it’s probably the song I personally listen to the most off of the album because it has some content to it and knows what it is as a short and powerful college rock track. Never Meant has a very varied chorus and helps to break up the album well but ultimately it again is a little flat and is an entirely skippable track.
Goodbye has a great chorus, a brilliant vocal melody and a great swooping hook… But that’s all contained in just one part of the song meaning that’s about all. Skip.
Tia Lupe is very much a song that calls to the bands Latin roots with a Brazilian bossa nova surface with Mexican mariachi style guitar licks played above the pleasant rhythm. Personally I really enjoyed it and felt that it was quite a nice idea to completely go out of your comfort range just to hone back to important memories. It symbolises what music should be regardless of your status and that you make it to vocalise your mentalities and emotions; this very much stated that ideology.
To sum up the final four tracks (including the UK bonus track Words) I’d have to say that they were just functional. They are your run of the mill conventional rock filler tracks with the exception of Hope which I think is a solid tune that just needs bumping up the track list. This is the only album ending too where AAF don’t finished on a big 4 minute+ song which I find very disappointing as a big fan of their progressive rock efforts.
So all in all this review probably comes across as quite rushed and not so fleshed out, but then that kind of sums up the album. There are some brilliant tracks don’t get me wrong and some songs on the surface that come across very positively showing a maturity in the group not just thrashing out rhythms any more. But having said that I just feel this album lacks depth; there are a couple songs where the production quality is weak and couple which feel a bit phoned in and for that reason it disappointed me. It’s not bland per say, but literally lacking the grip that makes you want to continue re-listen to it. It’s a shame because I know for a fact that the band value this album as their best outing but I just feel it didn’t hit the spotlight for a good reason.
6/10 – Some great tracks sprinkled in with lackluster nu-metal attempts and weak groove rock efforts.