Hope And The Heart It Breaks

Truckstop Darlin'

Independent release, 2012


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


A city that is never short on stunning indie rock and future household names, Portland's music scene seems to pump out new, must hear bands weekly. Though the city is most known for quieter, guitar picked, lo-fi sounds, the up and comers Truckstop Darlin' are taking a more Southern influenced rock ‘n’ roll route with their sophomore effort my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Hope And The Heart It Breaks.

Treading a path that draws influences from Whiskeytown and Uncle Tupelo with '90s alt rock guitar work embedded within the songs, this is a disc that soars with loud wailing just as it does hint at some back porch country rock. Songs like "Miss You More" and "Dead Roses" show the band at their more raw, rock side, while "I See You," with it's warm pedal steel, points toward a more rustic, Americana angle. They consistently find a nice groove here, the songs packed with fuzzy guitars often, and they show a wide range of sounds, even approaching a spacey, dreamy place on “They Don't Mind.”

Lyrically, as suggested by the album title, front man John Phelan displays a lot of forthrightness in this wordplay, telling universal stories of life and love. His voice has a very sincere delivery, and he sometimes harmonizes with back up vocals, keeping the sing-a-long factor evident all the way through this.

Despite being loud and thundering, Truckstop Darlin' wear their hearts on their sleeves; if Wilco grew up listening to Lucero's harder moments, it might sound something like this. A listen that embraces hard rockin' with gravely vocals and a fiery rhythm section, Hope And The Heart It Breaks also contains a lot of delicate beauty buried under the buzzing guitars and gritty energy. While most bands who fall under the alt-country umbrella focus more on the country part, Truckstop Darlin' keeps their amps turned up. I have to see this band live – this is a listen that immediately brings to mind an intense, cathartic performance.

Rating: A

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© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent release, and is used for informational purposes only.