Truth

Of Them and Other Tales

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Although Truth never released an LP while they were together, in 1995 this 68-minute CD was salvaged from 1969-1970 recordings. Most of them were made for a soundtrack of an obscure film, with three other tracks coming from a Chicago studio session during the brief time in which Ray Elliot was in the band. Perhaps to the surprise of some listeners aware of Truth's Them connections, there's not much of a hard R&B-blues-British Invasion influence. It's far more reminiscent of late-'60s California guitar psychedelia, along the lines of some of the more economic and harmony-driven bands in that style, like Moby Grape and (more distantly) Love. In this respect, Truth recall Fat Mattress (Noel Redding's group), another act with heavy British Isles roots that took major cues from West Coast harmonized psych, though Truth and Fat Mattress aren't extremely similar. Truth play late-'60s psychedelic rock with a breezy lightness, yet with some guts, anchored by extremely versatile guitar lines by the underrated Jim Armstrong. The songs might not be classic, but they're very pleasant go-with-the-flow period sequences of images, with one vocal (on "Blackboard Words") closely approximating the sound of late-'60s Roger McGuinn. On "Sonic Sitar," the group expands upon the raga-rock explored in the post-Van Morrison Them's best cut, "Square Room," and in fact "Archimed's Pad (Squared Room)" is an impressive instrumental remake of "Square Room" that's an underrated highlight of the whole raga-rock genre, with its hypnotic drawn-out interplay of drones and Indian-influenced guitar melodies. The three songs recorded with Ray Elliot on flute and piano go into jazzier grooves with good effect, adding nice icing to a record that's on the whole better (and certainly more consistent) than either of the late-'60s Them albums on which some of the Truth musicians played.