The Trucks – Space Famous (Demo Review)

by Steven Spoerl

Between The Trucks’ Space Famous demo, the PRIVILEGE demo, EP’s from Miserable Friend, Green Kid, and teasers of the upcoming cassette releases for Black Thumb and Technicolor Teeth, Wisconsin’s had a reasonably insane past few weeks. While all of those titles are worth a listen or two, the first one’s going to be the one discussed today. There’s only so much room and so much time to provide coverage for a release influx as formidable as this slate’s been, so even if there’s a release that picks up a central focus, listening’s encouraged for every listed title. Now, with that out of the way, on to The Trucks and Space Famous.

Having started only a short while ago with a scrappy one-song demo to their name, the Appleton-based band had started playing out more consistently prior to the release of Space Famous, wisely finding their niche comfort zone before committing to recording. With a sound that falls somewhere between Superchunk and Archers of Loaf, there’s always a tough balancing act to overcome; how to sound impassioned about being relatively passionless. The Trucks are well on their way to finding that precise point and Space Famous indicates pretty strongly that they’re looking to perfect it.

With this being a demo, the band’s sound, already considerably thick, is made even thicker through the lo-fi production. It’s something that’s immediately evidenced on the title track, when one of the first noises blasting out is a guitar tone that sounds suspiciously like a brass section. What follows is a quick-witted and hard-charging powerpop song that carries a noticeable amount of 90’s indie punk influence. In that regard, the lyrics (courtesy of lead personality Jake Royer) frequently and appropriately recall those of Robert Pollard during Guided by Voices first classic lineup run.

Following the promising opener is “So She Says”, Space Famous’ longest track, which allows more space to provide emphasis on the talents of the members surrounding Royer; Danzo Clavers, Luke Crowe, and Ryley Crowe. This spread-emphasis continues to an even greater extent on closing track “Heartbreak Motel”. Throughout both tracks, there’s a palpable almost acerbic energy that’s anchored and held in check by the power drumming of Ryley Crowe (who also drums on the releases from Miserable Friend and PRIVILEGE mentioned above, likely on the upcoming Black Thumb cassette as well).

By the time “Heartbreak Motel” wraps up Space Famous in an inspired burst of cross-vocal performances, it’s clear that The Trucks are doing more than a few things right- chiefly, resurrecting the 90’s slacker punk sub-genre in a way that feels honest instead of forced. There are traces of early-era Weezer and their kin throughout that promise this band’s got a lot of interesting things to offer musically, many of which may very well be hidden up their sleeves. If they’re all as consistently great as Space Famous then there’s a very good reason to keep both eyes on them. During the wait to find out, relax, find some junk food, turn the volume up, keep an eye out for their upcoming shows (they’re absolutely on the mark live) and take a trip through Space Famous below.