Hard working trio Truckfighters have made themselves a name on the live circuit, gaining critical praise from such luminaires’ as Queens Of The Stone Age head honcho Josh Homme in the process. Since last release 2009’s Mania there have been several changes. Most notably the departure of sticksman Oscar “Pezo” Johansson who opted to join retro rockers and fellow Swedes Witchcraft, there were certainly questions over what the next album of fuzzed up retro rock would match the power of its predecessor.
The California desert can still be felt throughout this record with the growling basslines of ‘Prophet’ giving way to a hazy chorus recalling a more metallic Fu Manchu. Alternating between straight up driving rock like driving opener ‘Mind Control’ and the sprawling ‘Get Lifted’. Most intriguingly is closer ‘Mastodont’ not least for how the title references the Atlanta based quartet although it is unclear if the reference is intended to be received positively or negatively. At over thirteen minutes it takes up a third of the running time alone but manages to hold the attention with its subtle shifting dynamics. The spiralling guitar work is certainly more minimal in its approach that the Georgians stoner-prog emissions but the weight and power involved is definitely the direction the band should be steering towards. The acoustic section that ushers in the last two minutes suggests great things if they are able to embrace these more progressive influences.
‘The Chairman’ also blends the low down grunt of prime desert rock. Oskar “Ozo” Cedrmalm pulling off a leather-lunged performance atop storming riffs.
‘Universe’ sees a gradual expansion of Truckfighters sound which holds much promise. Shedding the “baby QOTSA” tag, yet still having not wriggled free from the glut of Kyuss wanna-bees whose sickly sweet patchouli and hash sent lingers most unwelcomingly.
Some great hooks and clever riffing has stepped up Truckfighters game. If they can leave behind the more generic sections they could seriously be onto something. As it stands the gradual evolution ofthis Universe (Fuzzorama Records) remains a compelling one.