Everything that’s ever been great about rock n roll. Ever.
It’s possible that the doom mongers are right. It’s might be that Gene Simmons is spot on and that rock is dead. It’s even just about believable that those who are paying $2,500 to get a Guns N Roses “VIP Experience” will get value for money and that the only thing rock n roll has got to look forward to is never ending nostalgia trips and no band that hasn’t already sold millions of records ever breaking through again.
Of course, it could equally be shite. It could be that those who like to make such apocalyptic prophesies just haven’t heard Monster Truck.
Y’see it’s like this. In 2013 these four Canadians released an album called “Furiousity” – their first full length after two EP’s. It got to number 13 in the charts over there and made them a pretty big deal. At this point we’d better declare an interest. MV rather liked it. In fact, scratch that, MV adored it. “Furiousity” won album of the year on MV’s forerunner. In 2016 comes “Sittin’ Heavy” and here’s the thing ladies and gents – it’s even better.
Everything you need to know about the band is helpfully distilled into the first few songs. “Why Are You Not Rocking” possesses a riff that could smash small buildings, swirling organ and a thumping rhythm section. It’s also got these as its opening lines: “I don’t care about the weather/the band is ready to play” and furthermore – are ya listening Gene? – suggests in the chorus “rock n roll might save your life.” This is followed with the defiant middle finger in the air of “Don’t Tell Me How To Live” – there is something in singer Jon’s voice that suggests he means it too, you wouldn’t want to mess with him just in case. However, this is a band that has done things in the old school way. By playing live, by word of mouth. They are proud of it too as the anthemic and euphoric southern rock tinged “For The People” exemplifies the fact that they are very much a band of the public.
A little like it’s predecessor “…..Heavy” is happy to go to other places to find its kicks, the soaring “Black Forest” doesn’t intend to be held back by anything, while “Another Man’s Shoes” is confident and swaggering and “Things Get Better” proves that Monster Truck mix a bass groove and keyboards better than just about anyone else does, and it’s hand-clap laden chorus is surely designed for a live arena (word intended as that’s surely where this band is headed).
The sound of a runaway train kicks off “The Enforcer” and it’s a decent metaphor for 3 minutes and 15 seconds of ebullient hedonism which makes the song an absolute classic in waiting. “To The Flame” – which begins with a guitar solo – is arguably the heaviest thing here, it’s fuzzed up groove proving that if Monster Truck fancied being a stoner band they’d be the best one of those too.
And actually it’s the groove that’s king here. There’s a timeless quality to the music, there’s a classic air about songs like “New Soul” that mean that this record could have come out at any point in rock n roll’s history and been warmly received.
There’s a change of pace before the close with the balladic “Enjoy The Time”, here in contrast to the simmering anger of earlier, Jon reckons “I know that I’m a lucky man”. And it’s simple message “enjoy the times we have, before they are gone away” seems to encapsulate the positive mood of the record throughout.
We live in a world where even Lemmy wasn’t immortal. This means anything can happen and all bets are off. Allowing for that, you’d have to think that as rock n roll has survived decades just fine it might, contrary to what Simmons thinks, and whether or not Axl and Slash kill each other on the first night of the tour, be just fine thank you. Rock n Roll doesn’t need saving. It does need Monster Truck. And you need “Sittin’ Heavy”.