A Truth Called Nothing – Science – Like Religion But Real – EP Review
I’m always on the lookout for this band to return…to the scene, to the speakers, to the parking lot outside or the 7-11 down the road…doesn’t really matter to me where they want to choose to show up as long as A Truth Called Nothing continues on doing what they do. Since latching onto their ideas and approach after listening to their last full-album Sluggerhand and nominating them for our Best New Sound officially last year (in which they placed a mighty-respectable 2nd out of 10) – the duo has gone on to make an impressive amount of complex music within a short time frame. Science – Like Religion But Real would be their second EP on the inside of a year post-Sluggerhand after releasing the politically-aware EP called The Orange Orangutan’s Revenge in August of 2016. I’m certainly stoked on the amount of music they’re making right now…and after viewing the amount of support they have firsthand through the results of our contest last year…believe me, I know I’m not alone in that feeling.
I was told once…well, truthfully hundreds of times I’m sure…but one time in specific that managed to stand out in my 12th & final grade, that I was wrong to have said what I said. I had just finished delivering a speech to the class – one that was met with cheers & success from my peers, but at the same time had managed to piss my teacher off something fierce…and I knew it, I just didn’t understand why. My performance netted me a spot in the semi-finals and everyone seemed to like it – yet the person who at that time I was determined to pattern my entire life after was visibly rejecting my effort. I had written a massively personal speech involving the history of my epileptic/mentally-challenged brother and how we grew up…I remember shaking a bit as I spoke the words…they were painful, truthful, beautiful & sincere. People listening to the words even cried as I spoke. When the class was let go for the day I was asked by my teacher to stay behind and talk…and the first thing he asked me was:
“So who would you say you wrote that speech for?”
The question took me aback a little. My first reaction was that, if I had taken the time to say it all aloud then clearly everything I wrote was for the rest of the people to hear, wasn’t it? And then in that same, quick, minute-long timespan of silence I came to another realization…and I gave my answer.
“I wrote that speech for myself sir. These were things I needed to say.”
The meeting ended quickly after that…I gave my teacher the one piece of missing information he was looking for. Soon after, he promptly removed me from the list of semi-finalists without further explanation and I was left to my own devices to figure out what the hell I had possibly done ‘wrong.’ That can be a tough thing to do when you’re convinced you haven’t done anything in the first place. I still to this day don’t think I had done anything ‘wrong’ – I was speaking my truth; it was personal, it was raw, it was real…and in my opinion, it was what needed to be said.
I learned from that experience that a lot of the time things we say have innocent intentions and unintended consequences. I learned that speaking the truth about how I felt, or sharing my perspective, was almost always rejected by the establishment or people in charge – but on a grassroots level, peer-to-peer, people understood me somehow. And I suppose somehow, someway…I also eventually learned to not be shy about the ability to connect anymore, or to care if I didn’t…& I became the ‘me’ I am now. Some people get me…some don’t; the world still turns in either event – however, from that fateful day on-forward, I always believed that the people I was hoping would hear my words & message, truly did.
I thought about this as I watched A Truth Called Nothing soar to the top of the pack in last year’s quest for our Best New Sound and smiled a satisfied smile. I do NOT think that all the people out there in the world are going to ‘get’ what ATCN is all about…but I do think the right people will. I very much think that, like myself, the people that really understand what A Truth Called Nothing is trying to say will be every bit as much as enthusiastic about & committed to their music & art as I am. Much like the speech situation in my own past…the music of this band serves much as the vehicle for the lyrics and ‘what’ they have to say to us all. Also like that speech…I believe much of what they write is highly-personal; designed to connect to those that really hear it, but also largely expressing the pressing weight of things they simply NEED to get off their chest in order to stay true to themselves. I respect that. Watching the support come in for A Truth Called Nothing and STAY with them completely makes sense to me – their fans will almost certainly always become die-hards…because ATCN is much more than just mere music.
It’s in saying all this that I’m confident that their fans will follow them right into Science – Like Religion But Real without any hang-ups…and that they’ll immediately ‘get’ it all. For those people that are new to the music of A Truth Called Nothing – perhaps have a look over their official posting about the songs on this record and study that title of the EP real good before having a listen…otherwise you’re going to be thrown for a loop the moment the first line of “Wildfires” begins. Fans of their insightful lyricism and socially-aware, woke-themes will get the tongue-in-cheek nature of the words and the way they start this EP. You’ll hear the point I’ve made earlier make itself abundantly clear quickly – “Wildfires” is a perfect example of a song that is a vehicle for the words to cruise in. The writing is absolutely astounding – if not for content alone, then also for the metering, pace & performance and how it all fits, flows and sounds throughout the lyrics of “Wildfires.” If you ‘get’ this band…you’ll hear the knowledge, the creativity, the insight and the startling amount of cohesiveness between these aspects all tightly rolled into one and living within this opening song. If you don’t ‘get’ them yet…or it’s your first experience…you might not make it through the first minute of “Wildfires” without thinking that A Truth Called Nothing is filled with Jesus-freaks. Before you drop to your knees and thank the Lord for another voice in music on His behalf…make sure you have a real close listen to all those words. There is always so much going on that I’d be the last person to say that I ‘get’ it all myself…most of my time listening to A Truth Called Nothing is spent literally catching-up to it and figuring out as much as I can. I like those kind of layers in music I listen to – and you get them both lyrically and musically in this band…so much that it’s nearly impossible to take one’s mind off what comes through the speakers in order to type. With “Wildfires,” ATCN puts their utmost creativity on full-display in an uproarious journey of a first song that has so much depth you’ll be digging into it throughout the next decade to glean its entire meanings. And that’s not to say that A Truth Called Nothing isn’t CLEAR about what they’re saying – they are SO MUCH more clear than almost every other band out there in what they say and how they say it…the end result is purely something you’ll be able to mentally chew on for years; this whole EP is.
The ideas and concepts that drive “For Immediate Release” are made of complete genius! The multi-dimensional music roams through a plethora of styles & sounds as it plays – but check this out…lyrically, it’s centered around the idea of God just packing up his shit & heading for the couch for some Netflix instead of dealing with all of you and your prayers. Alright…maybe I’m taking a bit of liberty with the translation of the meaning in the lyrics…but it was interesting to hear the perspective of an all-mighty being abandoning those that follow him…even more interesting to hear what those reasons might be, which are contained within the song. We tend to think of people losing faith – “For Immediate Release” deals with the God in question losing faith in it all…people, the system, the set-up, institutions, routine, surprise, creativity, innovation, humanity. As per the standard – A Truth Called Nothing takes you through a wild swirling of words sung in many different styles, sounds & approaches and you can get right into the depths of the lyrics or you can just as easily dig on the endless creativity presented in the music. The enormity of “For Immediate Release” is seriously impressive…the parts are so immaculately defined that you can’t help but notice the amount of insanity-meets-creativity-meets-insight-and-courage that their music contains in its writing. Highly entertaining and impossible to categorize – A Truth Called Nothing really shows you that they not only do their OWN thang, they also do it real well.
Heading into Bowie-esque territory into the melancholy-meets-beautiful opening of the album’s title-track, “Science – Like Religion But Real,” the band backs-off the madness for a moment to add additional clarity to the words & intro of the EP’s middle tune. At six & a half-minutes long, you get a ton of instrumentation and ideas along the journey of this EP’s epic centerpiece…piano, violins…heck, at times I was half-convinced I could even hear an accordion in there. “Science – Like Religion But Real” is the kind of song that separates the true-fans from those on the fence…either by this point you’re really into the dramatic, theatrical and knowledgeable style of ATCN or you might just not ‘get’ it after all. I’ll say this…I enjoyed the added space in “Science – Like Religion But Real” and how it allowed them to breathe a bit throughout the span of the song. I like the jammed-franticness that many of their songs have and the scattered-but-organized thoughts they keep continually ripping at us throughout the bulk of their catalog – but the added clarity and space of this title-cut is a direction I’d certainly encourage them to further explore. “Science – Like Religion But Real” is an incredibly focused and performance-minded song – but one that certainly showcases their devotion to their ideas, sound & style and commitment to following through. I think they’ve done an incredible job with this title-track; it delivers on the signature aspects of what we love about this band from the creativity to the knowledge-bombs – but it also delivers a real highlight in its structure, movement & flow, often delivering subtle but extremely effective hooks that appear quickly and disappear just as fast as they head to the next part or idea. From beginning to end, this cut absolutely brings entertainment to the ears through thought-provoking lyricism and compellingly-creative musicianship; the final ninety-seconds are an absolute joy to listen to as they let it loose and really sing out the hooks to the end. A Truth Called Nothing is right into it here and you can HEAR the love & enthusiasm at the end from the incredible vocals to the incredible accenting guitar-tones overtop; loved the way the track started, loved the way it ended & everything that happens in between those two-points – how’s that for ya?
You know, not a lot of people know this but, if The Beatles were still around today, they’d be writing songs like “Science, Sex & Simplicity.” I don’t know this for a fact of course, I just know it to be true. ATCN strips it back in terms of what they add into the swirl of the mix here – but each of these ingredients is built of the most solid mettle & merit, completely adding to the experience as it moves along at a sleek but deadly pace & rhythm. Excellent combinations happening here and extremely innovative music…the combination of electro & real instrumentation works incredibly well for them here; everything is explosive from the words & vocal-performance to the massive enormities you’ll hear in the song through its evolution. The shortest jam on the record but an insanely addicting one to listen to – “Science, Sex & Simplicity” really moves quickly and the way it transitions between such insightfully-defined parts in the song is completely impressive.
I highly encourage each and every one of you to read what is written about “The Year Of The Bad Lord” on their official website…because it’s important. To bring it back to the original point & story about the ol’ speech from highschool – A Truth Called Nothing is saying an incredible amount of what NEEDS to be said in this song, which is outlined in amazing detail at their homepage. I know we line-up in our ideals and we’re on the same side of the battlefield – but the amount of courage it takes to define yourself this clearly is still impressive to hear stamped down in music and words every time. There are so many crucial points being made throughout “The Year Of The Bad Lord” and its underlying meanings that it’d take another review entirely just to get through them all…but if there’d be essentially one way I could sum it all up, I’d simply say PAY ATTENTION to this song and what they’re saying to us all here. There IS a path to a better future for us all…and it’s certainly got about absolutely nothing to do with anything we’ve all been taught to believe so far throughout our lives…one that requires innovative thought, creativity and real insight – and that’s where leaders like this come in. People that are unafraid to say what needs to be said…people with the courage to connect to the rest of out there and try to unite us all through what’s important and real without once selling us a reason to disbelieve the intent.
It is more than encouraging to hear A Truth Called Nothing embracing that leadership role, whether it’s entirely intended or not, the confidence they put forth in realizing their art has that effect on us as listeners. Loved the combinations of synth, guitars and harmonies in this final tune, loved the crunch in the tone of the guitar-solo…loved the way this entire EP makes you THINK lyrically and at the same time really gives your ears something astoundingly new to listen to. I admire the highly artistic nature of their music and their astonishing amount of social-awareness/responsibility that they take on in their songs – it’s rare to find a band so massively committed to their ideas & ideals like this and A Truth Called Nothing continues to be one of the most interesting, diverse & dynamic bands out there in the music-scene today – Science – Like Religion But Real is all the proof you need of the next evolution happening in music. That’s not an alternative-fact – that’s real-talk.
Find out more at their official page at: https://atruthcallednothing.com
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