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In the course of asking people what they'd like to see on the blog, Justin Haze of True Delusions reached out asking if I could review his album. Truth be told I've never done such a thing, but I decided why not! To disclose my own biases at the start I usually don't listen to that much indie-rock style stuff, but it's not absent from my library either.
Anyway, now that that's out of the way.
When we first enter the world of True Delusions we're greeted with a bouncing beat that quickly explodes into the distorted chug of a cheery electric guitar and dreamy vocals that hovers between story and melody. The themes I piece together from the instruments and vocals is about love, sex and life to the sounds of rock n roll. In many ways the chaotic distortion and story actually fits together nicely to me.
As the album goes on it takes a more subdued path that becomes even trippier. I'll admit I'm already bad with following lyrics, so I'm not sure if the vocals contradict with the feeling I get from them at all, but I get a sense of longing, misunderstanding and reality bending under pressure. When things are more positive and uplifting, I'm struck with a feeling of confidence and purpose that is reflected in the clarity and power of the vocals and the uplifting energy the drums & guitar provides. When things feel more subdued and sad, I feel the sense of confusion and meloncholy. I like how it oscillates between the sadder tones while moving back to optimistic tones and upbeat energy in the cyclical way that love and life often does.
The whole album feels metaphoric and poetic. What I find particularly relatable, personally, is using music as a way to understand your own feelings and as a form of therapy, which I get a sense of while I listen to this.
I was actually surprised with the album as a whole. I'll admit some songs don't resonate with me in the way that it might for others who are in the emotional space to vibe with them, but other songs are actually really well done and I like them quite a bit. Some of my personal favorites include: I Unloaded Them And Dropped 'Em, Candle Lit, Are Distorting Again, Old Earth Angel and Thanks With Many Breaths. Not that I would say the others were "bad", but I just dug the vibe more.
I particularly like how the guitar throughout the album is twisted and distorted in subtle, yet dope ways. Indie-rock can be an easy sound to get lost in irrelevance to without making your sound distinct, so that and the subtlety of the synths and effects were well done.
I'm impressed by how professional the album sounds and seeing Justin's work develop and grow like this is quite cool. A big difference is probably due to this being recorded in an actual studio versus what I'm assuming was home equipment from songs I've heard in the past. I'm impressed how it still captures the distorted, chaotic feel of his old work while sounding well-mastered and crisp in a refined way that shows how much effort has gone into this.
Congrats on finishing the album dude!