Running From the Chase
DOUBLE DOUBLE WHAMMY
It’s a beautiful thing to witness a band level up in real time. While the reflection point at which a young group’s ambition meets their ability to deliver is not exclusive to indie rock, it’s one probably best seen through the genre’s uniquely devotional lens. That said, Raleigh, North Carolina’s Truth Club is right in that pocket.
The four-piece’s January single “It’s Time” wasn’t just a monumental improvement on their already-impressive early work, but an explicit state of purpose. Gone was the at-times brittle, lo-to-mid-fi rumble of 2019’s Not an Exit, replaced by Travis Harrington and Kameron Vann’s slashing, horizon-wide guitars and tricky, falling-down-the-stairs fills from drummer Elise Jaffe. Released ahead of Running From the Chase—their sophomore LP and debut for Double Double Whammy—“Time” merely hinted at the sonic worlds Truth Club conjured up prior. Emerging from a period of emotional instability and music industry strife, the band has come back stronger, delivering one of the most exciting guitar albums of the year.
The party line to Chase, as it were, is two-fold: Faced with Harrington’s gradual bipolar diagnosis, as well as the very public collapse of their old label, he, Vann, Jaffe, and newest member Yvonne Chazal hit pause on the band. As the indiesphere once again circled around their home state’s fertile Triangle, Truth Club slowly kicked back into gear, playing shows with contemporaries and influences alike. This story naturally paints Harrington’s vivid, stormy, but ultimately hopeful lyrics on the new album as a kind of victory dialogue, a written account from the other side. The band meets his passion in lockstep, switching instruments, testing all kinds of auxiliary tools, and experimenting with “semi-destroyed” cymbals, all under the watchful eye of Asheville producer-of-the-moment Alex Farrar. Most importantly, though, they churned out grade-A songs here—tracks with big hooks and swinging sonic motifs that often thrillingly end far from where they begin.
Mindful students of indie rock, Truth Club kick the tires on nearly every subgenre of the form, using -core modes like a guidebook in search of the perfect route. Less record-collector rock and more casually eclectic, the band draws expertly curved throughlines between regional sonic dialects and in-scenes with the end result resembling something far more cohesive and idiosyncratic than that description suggests. Sure, Harrington’s bellowing vocals can recall any number of burly but emotive indie frontmen (Rick Maguire from Pile especially), but Truth Club never succumbs to mimicry, always sliding out through a trap door or exit on-ramp.
Deeply in their bag on songs like the coda-extended opener “Suffer Debt” and the viscerally tactile “Siphon,” the group uses start-and-stop dynamics to blast their way through grief, while the galloping early single “Blue Eternal” sets off the starting blocks at an unnatural pace, threatening to careen off-path. The short interlude “the chase” drops off suddenly into the breathless title track, which kicks off in media res and enveloped in a cloud of distortion. Everything coalesces around the centerpiece, “Exit Cycle,” a majestically building strummer of a tune that features fellow North Carolinian Indigo De Souza on a gorgeous in-the-round-style chorus outro.
Truth Club triumphantly meets the moment with the casual confidence of a band much further into their discography. When you have the goods like this, the rest just works.