June 12, 2009

Mod-A-Day: The Truth

Just as The Jam were calling it a day and a lot of the remaining mod revival bands had split up, Dennis Greaves, former front man of bluesy punk band Nine Below Zero, put together a soulful R&B group called The Truth. Greaves soul and blues expertise helped to shape the band's sound which fit nicely into the 80s music milieu.

Things looked good with the band producing a fistful of mod singles and EPs that were a single blessing amidst the mid-80s landscape of new romantic pop and glam rock. Early on there was the fun and dancable "The Sweetest Feeling" from the Five Live EP, and the jangly "Beat Generation" with its Monkees like sound, "Steppin In The Right Direction," "Confusion (Hits Us Everytime)" and a whole bunch more. Indeed, things were looking good.

In 1985 the band produced their first record, an excellent long player, The Playground. It was a tightly produced, sharp sounding blend of soul and pop. With songs like "It's A Miracle" and "Is There A Solution" the band added a decidedly mod vibe to that sort of 80s sophistipop that The Style Council, Swing Out Sister, Everything But The Girl, Spandau Ballet and others were also dabbling with at the time. But, The Truth were by far the most sixties influenced. The album boasted a number of great soulful power pop songs like "Spread a Little Sunshine" (which wouldn't have sounded out of place on an early Style Council disk) and the song here, "I'm In Tune."

But then something strange happened. They went in a totally different, and disgusting, direction. In the final few years of the decade Greaves and company went professionally insane producing the most hideous sort of mulletheaded glam rock you can imagine. Their fans deserted them. The albums were panned by critics. Sales were nil. The band faded away by 1990. Along about the turn of the century Greaves reformed Nine Below Zero and began doing some shows and producing new material. But the damage was done. I haven't heard any of it, and I suspect I'm not the only fan of The Truth who won't bother revisitng his other work. But, for one bright shining moment there was The Truth and their blissfully happy soulful sound.

The Truth -- I'm In Tune