Thursday, May 7, 2009

May 7: Truckee Brothers, "Double Happiness"

Artist: Truckee Brothers
Album: Double Happiness
Year: 2007
Label: Popluxe

With it's notoriously good weather and unrivaled scenic beauty, San Diego, on it's surface, is one of the most pleasant cities in the world. Yet, San Diego isn't all that famous for having a local music scene. However, it has produced a number of amazing artists, including one of the best song writers of the past twenty years, Steve Poltz. But we're going to discuss perhaps the most refreshing and fun rock band to come out of California in that time frame, the Truckee Brothers. Only a few albums into their career, the Truckee Brothers' 2007 release, Double Happiness is a faith-restoring rock and roll powerhouse.

The album title itself sums up the mood of the record, and even when the band is slow and sentimental, as they are on tracks like "Bon Voyerurage," the album remains an overall upbeat and joyous affair. The band, taking a page from The Ramones, have all taken "Truckee" as a shared surname, and taken random other names for their first names. This shared name reflects the music, in that it is a perfect balance of all of the musicians. The band represents everything that was, and is, great about rock and roll with their "no frills" approach to their music. The Truckee Brothers are far more about style than they are songwriting, yet the latter is not lacking. The Truckee Brothers clearly understand what was great about their influences, and the resulting music found on Double Happiness could seamlessly fit in on "classic rock" radio as easily as on "Top 40" stations.

The band is clearly a product of the "bar scene," and a majority of their songs are loud and forceful, and would easily be heard over a normal bar crowd. Mixing acoustic and electric guitars, often within the same song, it becomes a reflection of the bands' style of being laid back, yet completely in your fact at the same time. The varied, skilled basswork of Ott Truckee perfectly fills the gap between the drums and guitar (as it is supposed to do), and the band also features their bass player at the front of many of the songs on Double Happiness. The drums of Hemiway Truckee bounce right off of the record and are the driving force behind the album. When the Truckee Brothers get rocking, they are as good as any band ever. With catchy, somewhat sleazy moods, songs like "Kiss My Komodo" beg to be played as loud as possible, and there are many similar gems throughout the album.

The main aspect that sets the Truckee Brothers apart from their contemporaries is the amazing dual vocals of Cady and Peat Truckee. With Cady lending a deep, baritone sound, and Peat's brilliant tenor harmonies, the vocal sound is nothing short of stunning. Whether on the more ballad based songs, or the full force rock songs found on Double Happiness, the paired vocals are absolutely fantastic throughout the entire album. Their vocal contrast and range are brilliantly highlighted on the sparse, acoustic song, "I Am Nature." Both vocalists switch between the more "spoken" vocal delivery and their gifted singing voices, and this ability gives further depth to the sounds they create. While the lyrics are rarely life changing, they are all solid songs, with clear themes, and many of the lyrics are just as catchy as the music. Truly, the singing on the record must be experienced first-hand to appreciate how original and amazing Cady and Peat Truckee sound when singing together.

The music of the Truckee Brothers is both beautiful and aggressive simultaneously. Honing their skills in the San Diego bar scene, their music is crafted to easily be heard and enjoyed over a noisy room of people. With the dual vocals of Cady and Peat Truckee providing a melodic, yet "tough" mood, the band truly have a sound like no other in today's music scene. Clearly sticking close to their classic rock influences, the Truckee Brothers are a refreshing return to a pure, uninhibited style of rock that has been mostly absent over the past decade. Relentlessly touring, the band has only recorded a pair of albums and a few EP's thus far, but it is clear that the Truckee Brothers will be one of the most important bands of the next decade. Their 2007 release, Double Happiness, is an invigorating jolt of classic rock and roll sound that is a pleasure to experience time and time again. Oh, and if they come to your town, their live show is well worth checking out!

Standout tracks: "Kiss My Komodo," "Bon Voyerurage," and "Snap Tight."

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