Shed Seven

Truth Be Told

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Their fourth album -- first after being dropped by Polydor -- with new bandmembers (guitarist Joe Johnson and keyboardist Fraser Smith joined shortly after Paul Banks fled to form the Rising) and with elevated, reedy courage to battle the belief that the band seemed utterly unable to write an album with more than a couple of decent tunes, Truth Be Told is likely as good, or as bad, as the band will ever be. That moment in "Cry for Help" when a victorious keyboard refrain comes out of nowhere to put the "This is my private hell" lyric up on its shoulders or how, especially in "Never Felt So Cold" or "Be Myself," listeners are shown what it would have been like if Johnny Dean had ever fronted the Black Crowes -- it's re-energized business as usual suddenly fueled by public dismissal. While other bands in analogous painted corners have either stuffed themselves with inventive absurdity (The Bluetones) or disappeared completely (Northern Uproar), Shed Seven digs their heels in, polishes their flag, and looks around -- anxious and desperate -- for someone to finally follow their lead.

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