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Published: 2013/08/30
by Sam Robertson

Truth & Salvage Co.
Pick Me Up

Megaforce Records

Truth & Salvage Co.’s second album Pick Me Up opens with a chorus of “Don’t let the bad times get you down,” as the band harmonizes over old-timey piano and kicks off an unabashedly joyful album with a “hang in through the bad times” message. With four singer/songwriters, there are an abundance of musical voices, but a common thread of optimism weaves its way throughout the album, from the uplifting opener to the patriotic closing track. With elements of gospel and bluegrass thrown into a breezy, classic country rock sound, Pick Me Up has the vibe of a feel good summer soundtrack.

After the final soothing vocal harmonies of the sparse and short opening track, the band crashes into high-energy rocker “Silver Lining.” With dueling guitar and keyboards and a pulsing drumbeat, “Silver Lining” features the band at their most powerful. The Allman Brothers-like “Island” is another musical triumph, nearly matching the catchiness of “Sliver Lining” with bouncy percussion and soaring lead guitar.

Though the band is plenty talented musically, the four singer harmonies are the core of Truth & Salvage Co.’s best work. A fantastic cover of Joe South’s “Games” is the highlight of the album, with each singer taking a verse and harmonizing on the chorus. “Appalachian Hilltop” almost feels like the band trying too hard at good times country rock with lines like “this mighty river is flowing with a spirit that will never grow old,” but those irresistible harmonies truly never grow old and save the song from its cheesy lyrics. They pull off rootsy Americana better with “Middle Island Creek,” a honkytonk raver that finds each singer perfectly hollering along on a loose Band-like rocker that would have left Levon Helm smiling proud.

Truth & Salvage Co. embrace a wider spectrum of musical sounds on their second album and the lyrics are generally sharpened up, but there are still weak spots spread throughout the young band’s latest. “I’m Not Your Boyfriend” reeks of bad corporate country, and the “Like A Rolling Stone”-like organ on “Come Pick Me Up” feels uninspired. Hints of a pop country sensibility creep into both Pick Me Up and the band’s debut album, but “I’m Not Your Boyfriend” ventures a little far into that territory for comfort. With big choruses and a tiny bit of a sleek edge, one gets the sense that Truth & Salvage Co. could find some success as a corporate Nashville country band, but they draw from far too many influences and voices to limit themselves, and Pick Me Up finds them moving closer to establishing their own uniquely rootsy and catchy voice.

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