If you’re reading this right now, chances are you know that MONSTER TRUCK has a new album, Sittin’ Heavy, out now on Dine Alone Records. Well, maybe you don’t, and you were just intrigued by the cover art. That’s fine too…as long as when you’re finished here you go and check them out for yourself. This band was introduced to me in late 2013 and I have been a Mega-fan ever since. That was only cemented further when I caught them opening for ALTER BRIDGE a few months later in Dallas. They were just as amazing live as they were on tape. Now, nearly two years later we get a Texas-sized slab of raw, rootsy, riff-laden rock and roll that pulls no punches, and gives zero fucks.
The band starts the record by asking the question “Why Are You Not Rocking?”, bassist/vocalist Jon Harvey, guitarist Jeremy Widerman, Brandon Bliss (organ), and drummer Steve Kiely answering swiftly with all their furious might. “Don’t Tell Me How to Live” is full of attitude and defiance, a slow, deliberate stomp with sizzling guitars and fiery solos. This is easily one of my favorite tunes in the band’s young career so far, as is “She’s a Witch”. This number harnesses the energy and essence of 70’s rock while putting the group’s own stamp on it, culminating in one helluva jam with Bliss’ organ featured prominently.
“For the People” is another cracking song that I simply cannot get enough of. Soaring harmonies, some Southern flair on the guitar, and a chorus that will make you jump up like you got the Holy Ghost in ya, this one needs to be a single YESTERDAY. It’s also another incredible album standout. But this band isn’t all heavy all the time, no sir. When they slow it down, like on closer “Enjoy the Time” it hits you hard on a spiritual and emotionally uplifting level, the way a perfectly-written song is supposed to. The same can be said for “Black Forest”, with both of these songs demonstrating just how important a kickass organ player is for your band when you’re writing soulful rock tunes.
“Another Man’s Shoes” and “New Soul” are Jeremy Widerman’s songs from start to finish, both of them kicking ass and taking names. I gotta be honest here…when I first heard “Things Get Better” I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. But then I plugged in my headphones and listened to it the way the Gods intended, and I was all over it! “The Enforcer” is an uptempo number with gang vocals on the hooks while “To the Flame” lights a musical candle that burns slowly and surely. “New Soul” is one of those songs that’s ready-made for flooring it down the highway and laughing at the consequences.
There’s not one bad thing I can say about MONSTER TRUCK or this new record. In fact, this is without a doubt one of THE best albums of 2016. I can only hope they come to Philly on the ensuing tour so I get to bask in the glow of their greatness once again. This is truly a group for the ages, one that transcends eras and genres. What they are is a kickass rock and roll band that will knock you on your ass six ways to Sunday, and when you hear what they’ve laid down on Sittin’ Heavy you will get down and thank whatever Gods you pray to that you were in the presence of greatness.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM