I normally listen to an album a few times initially, before making notes for a review. However, I went off on a tangent with ‘The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be’, by first watching all 4 videos, that accompany this 2nd piece of work from The Wayward Sons. I had a brilliant English teacher at school, Mrs Harrison, who taught me all about satire and how to analyse literature, to fully understand it. I took the same approach with this album, the videos explain the concept and the cover of the album provides the satirical references, in graphic detail. Toby Jepson, main player with the band, has written an indirect stab at all that many of us regard is wrong, with todays world. It is impossible to miss the references to fake news, the inept ‘clowns’ who hold power in Government and how media, social or otherwise, affects and often rules, how we react in our everyday lives. I say indirect stab, because why do we listen to music? It’s not our first point of call as a way to be educated in political means, so rather cleverly the 12 tracks on this album are a subtle protest and something that Toby wants to get off his chest.
So, onto the music, those of us who can remember ‘Little Angels’, who Toby fronted in the mid 80’s to mid 90’s, know that the has quite a magnificent voice. These days it is still clear and unfailing, he does’t seem to have lost any of its strength and can still hold on to those notes, others find a struggle. ‘Any other Way’ is an awakener, no soft introduction here. A fast and intense ride, that has strong work from guitarist Sam Wood, ‘As Black As Sin’ follows, zappy with loads of hooks. The first single ‘The Jokes On You’ has more of a message, but also simple enough for a singalong, there is a delightful video to accompany it. See Below.
‘Little White Lies’ has ‘Queen’ stamped on it, a more polished tune with slower pace. Probably my favourite is ‘Feel Good Hit’ with strident guitar that delves low and has a dirty riff, while the vocals are more angry, it pushes the boundaries of Wayward Sons a bit more. The sad tale of ‘Fade Away’ has keys from Dave Kemp that add to the poignancy and gives it a ‘Bowie/Ziggy Stardust’ way of telling the story. ‘Have It Your Own Way’ raises the temperature again and ‘(If Only) God Was Real’ is a rousing rocker that’s thought provoking, with another tremendous burst from Wood. The drums of the very underrated Phil Martini also stand out, production is tested on the title track and has to be applauded. Every note and lyric is clear and resonant, you don’t miss anything. ‘Us Against The World’ again is more dramatic, bassist Nic Wastell and the keyboards come through, building this song into a frenzy. ’Totally Screwed (Hidden Track)’ is a masterpiece, not giving any secrets away as to the title, the track is a superb rocker to finish on and laments how many of us older bods feel these days!
A completely different direction from the debut ‘Ghosts Of Yet To Come’, yet hugely listenable and will undoubtedly be a tremendous success, The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be’ is so relevant to today, as we are all affected in one way or another. On reflection, a subtle message, maybe, but one that should be heard and this is one of the best ways possible.
Highlights – Any Other Way , Feel Good Hit , (If Only) God Was Real.
‘A subtle message, maybe, but one that should be heard and this is one of the best ways possible’.