Theory of a Deadman

The Truth Is...

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Four albums and ten years later, Theory of a Deadman are still content to be Nickelback’s baby brothers, eagerly following within the footsteps of their bigger, tougher siblings. Every song on The Truth Is... sounds as if it were ghost-written by Chad Kroeger, mirroring his singsong hooks and clubfooted rhythms; TOAD distinguish themselves from Nickelback by cleaning up and toning down the production, and adding some canned horns for a veneer of class. Maybe all this relative sweetness is why the group tries so hard to sound hard, frontman Tyler Connolly trumping Kroeger’s legendary misogyny with such gnarled nuggets of hate as “Bitch Came Back,” “Gentleman,” and “The Truth Is...(I Lied About Everything).” Subscribing to the Tom Leykis school of relationships, Connolly concludes that he likes his current girl “so much better when she’s down on her knees” and tells his ex that “I really hate your face, you were never that hot in the first place,” sentiments so strong they undercut the token lovelorn ballads here (as well as the sincerity of his wannabe military recruitment anthem “We Were Men”), but the real problem is that he doesn’t sound like a self-described “Lowlife,” he sounds like a pretty boy pandering to frat boys on spring break. This isn’t ugly visceral music; it’s castrated rock with a rotten heart.

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