La Rocca – The Truth

La Rocca
The Truth

I spy a pen, I spy a cat, I spy a rooster with a plastic back. I spy Springsteen, I spy Coldplay, I spy clear ambition to make the way. Not only does The Truth’s cover art call to mind the classic children’s picture game, but a listen to the disc will reveal the same kind of influence hint-and-hide. That Springsteen cover didn’t make it in there on accident, did it? La Rocca are an Irish band making a name for themselves in the city of Fante and Bukowski; there’s gotta be a bit of the timeless in their formula. So, if The Truth recalls an adult alternative fantasy team—snatches of Coldplay, Jet, even The Futureheads can be heard—it’s because this band is aiming for the top. Hell, the band’s principal songwriter, Bjorn Baillie, states plainly that he “want[s] to be the best songwriter of [his] generation.”

Is it possible? I suppose—but the main criterion would have to be record sales. Platinum potential is definitely there—these songs blow by with just the right intensity, jumping from “Born to Run” to “The Scientist” in a matter of tracks—but I would question the merit of such straight-faced replication. However, I must add that, while the purist inside stands revulsion, this is in many respects a gripping pop/rock album; the band’s compositional skills are clearly well-honed, Tony Hoffer’s mix is right on the mark, and—perhaps because of the album’s rather scattered approach—no elements are emphasized too heavily. The lyrics, quasi-witty and not too sentimental, are utilitarian and just dull enough to go down smoothly. Check standout “This Life” for some clear Top-40ism: “It’s the same for you and it’s the same for me/ but I’m not here alone now and I think you’ll agree/ that if we’d met later/ I’d never have seen this life.”

One more thing that might be decisive: The Truth is polished to an absolute sheen. Lo-fi fans will be immediately repulsed, but, then again, lo-fi fans aren’t going to dig this sort of thing anyway. Other than that, there’s certainly something here for fans of general rock, even indie rock; some will turn their noses up, but how many of us could resist a few years of fabulous fame and wealth if we had some good marketable talent? As for me, I kind of like The Truth. It sounds genuine enough, anyway.