Monster Truck‘s debut album Furiosity was the first album I ever gave a perfect score to. If you’d like to find out why, you can read the review of it here. Ever since then, I’ve been waiting for more from them. I wanted to know if they could keep up the momentum, or grow as musicians, or if they would try something completely new and surprise us. All of that was answered last week with the release of their second full length album Sittin’ Heavy.
Don’t Tell Me How To Live, the first single released from Sittin’ Heavy months ago, has been playing on the radio non-stop. I don’t know if this is the case all around Canada, but in southern Ontario, you can’t go a day without hearing it on a rock station at least once. At first I wasn’t enthused about the track, but it’s grown on me. I wasn’t enthused because it didn’t sound very different from previous Monster Truck stuff. It’s main riff and groove weren’t unlike a few songs from Furiosity. I’ve since grown to accept it as a good track, but for the first time I was sceptical about what the rest of the album could sound like.
My scepticism was proven false for a moment upon hearing Sittin’ Heavy‘s opening track Why Are You Not Rocking? This track has the drive and desire that I expected from Monster Truck, but with added energy unlike anything I’ve ever really heard from them, but at the same time it has that Monster Truck spirit and groove that has previously made them so special to my ears.
Like Furiosity, there are a lot of songs on Sittin’ Heavy that are heavy and hard hitting such as the dark She’s A Witch, the slow burning Another Man’s Shoes and the powerful The Enforcer (which brings back the chanting vocals that made Monster Truck‘s earliest hits from their Brown EP so appealing) but the real standout moments are the times when the band changes things up. Such as the soulful For The People, which calms things down just a bit and takes things to a bit of a southern rock sounding level.
The introduction of an electric piano on the songs Black Forest and Enjoy The Time also show a bit of evolution for Monster Truck. The main thing that always appealed to me about the band is how their music sounds like it could have competed with the best of artists back in the 70s, but with enough of a modern touch to appeal to newer rock audiences. This electric piano sound only helps that opinion. That hasn’t changed on Sittin’ Heavy and this electric piano sound only helps more. For Black Forest, the piano sound helps with its dark tone. For Enjoy The Time, the piano sound only helps this mellow song sound like it could have been recorded in the 70s.
Sittin’ Heavy is really good. As a standalone album Monster Truck show they know more than just a thing or two about how to make good soulful hard rock. However, I have to make the comparison to Furiosity, which I don’t believe Sittin’ Heavy quite measures up to. Missing on Sittin’ Heavy are the vocal hooks that charmed just about every track on Furiosity. Things Get Better is the closest a track on Sittin’ Heavy gets to being nearly as catchy as what I had expected. I don’t want to take away from how the band has improved musically though. The reality is that Sittin’ Heavy is still a great rock album and should hold up as one of the premier rock albums of 2016.
Thanks for reading!
“Things Get Better” – When I said earlier that this song has the catchiest hook on Sittin’ Heavy, I didn’t emphasize that it’s actually one of the catchiest tracks they’ve ever recorded. It also shows, like many tracks, the band’s improvement as musicians, both as writers and performers, while sticking with what has already made their sound so special.
8.5 (Out of 10)
|1||Why Are You Not Rocking?||2:23|
|2||Don’t Tell Me How to Live||4:26|
|3||She’s a Witch||3:44|
|4||For the People||4:35|
|6||Another Man’s Shoes||4:01|
|7||Things Get Better||3:43|
|9||To the Flame||4:03|
|11||Enjoy the Time||5:41|