Jonathan Mudd – Truth Lies

January 01, 1970

(Major Label Interest)


The North Carolina
powerpop tradition is a long and, by some estimations, noble tradition; or
maybe your memory doesn’t stretch back to the early/mid ‘80s when the likes of
Let’s Active, The dB’s and The Connells proudly waved the Tarheel banner and
spawned scores of like-minded outfits. Carolina
ex-pat Jonathan Mudd most certainly took notice of how pop is imbued with a
particular timelessness, and although he now calls D.C. his home, on the
evidence of these 11 songs, his heart’s permanently in Comboland.


Truth Lies, Mudd’s second solo
album (it follows 2005’s Any Good Heaven),
has all the requisite powerpop hallmarks: meaty guitar riffs atop propulsive
rhythms; instantly hummable melodies and a keen sense of dynamic; lyrics about
loving and losing and getting back together, all with an undercurrent of
reflection and redemption. Yet classic pop tunes don’t lend themselves easily
to sausage-factory analysis; too much dissection, in fact, and you lose sight
of the old Lovin’ Spoonful maxim about how the music can free ya whenever it
starts. On Truth Lies you can start
the music pretty much anywhere on the album and land on a gem.


“Round the Bend,” for example, a love song in which the two protagonists
discover how, indeed, they believe in magic, is a percolating rocker awash in
sinewy riffs and “ooh-la-la-la” harmony vocals, while another unabashed riffer,
“Breaking My Way,” celebrates the blossoming of a relationship in cinema-worthy
terms. The moody “Out of My Control,” with its lyric and melodic hat-tips to
Roxy Music’s “Flesh and Blood,” has a slow-burn intensity and a lingering grandeur.
“Somewhere In the Night,” part acoustic-tilting ballad, part cresting anthem,
deserves to be heard by anyone who’s committed the first two Big Star albums to
memory. And album standout “On Fire,” with its Springsteen-like imagery (“Baby,
everything is gonna be all right/ Down every dark street we’re gonna shine a light/
We’ll burn it up tonight”) and tension-building sonics (listen for the subtle “Don’t
Fear the Reaper” guitar nod), positively smolders – truth in titling – with


Bottom line: Truth
both holds its own against the classic powerpop archetypes while
delightfully advancing the game for the contemporary scene. It’ll make you a
believer all over again in the magic, and it just might free you, too.


Standout Tracks: “On
Fire,” “If You Ever Leave Me,” “Somewhere In the Night” FRED MILLS




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