Trumans Water aren’t exactly revolutionary, but their music has always had the kind of energy that makes it seem as if it could move mountains, part oceans, and if nothing else provoke some serious action in the pit. The band’s 1990s heyday was a time when alternative music was a catch phrase, and anything that seemed boho, grungy, smelly, or sarcastic was lumped into that category. As members came and went, the band started to evolve and so did their overall sound, but not too much. Almost 20 years after their inception, Trumans Water are back with a brand new album called O Zeta Zunis. For older fans who haven’t heard them in awhile, imagine the uncut energy of the old and combine that with a few melodic touches, as if members of Weezer wanted to jam with the band.
O Zeta Zunis is a continuation of the band’s never ending urge to challenge themselves and to see how far they can go. Songs like “Ur-Cod,” “Ammunition,” and “Bev Toxin” each sound like the kind of songs that make concert-goers move frantically and never want to stop. Each effort contains powerful melodies and arrangements exhibiting a care for the music and how much more comfortable the band is in their own collective skin.
When “Greased Water” starts, it almost sound like you’ve entered a Trumans Water jam session with members still tuning their instruments and checking volumes, playing at a slow, down-tempo pace that radiates calm. However, it’s a calm before the storm, and at the fifty-two second mark they’re as raunchy as early Flaming Lips. For the first time on the album, shades of the old Trumans Water begin to show. “Blasphemous Cordialantlers Ride!” could have been a random piece of audio pulled from any moment in the studio when these guys were messing around, pounding their guitars with drum sticks and not going anywhere. But it almost sounds like Indian classical music, just add a sarod or sarangi.
What does it mean? The answer’s unknown, and for the group that’s alright. Outside of challenging themselves with a new set of songs, they’re more than willing to go back and forth between highly polished compositions with hit potential (well, college radio hit potential) and complete bursts of mindless noise also working as segue ways from one point of the album to the next. “5-7-10 Split” could have easily been taken from the Mudhoney vaults, with the kind of guitar strength that would make Steve Turner proud. Moving into a Melvins-like dirge with “You Live Out Loud” seems to show how much living in the Pacific Northwest has influenced Trumans Water’s sound.
In other words, O Zeta Zunis is indeed a Trumans Water album and a welcome addition to their discography. If it’s been a while since you’ve heard them, you’ll like what they’ve become. It’s not the Trumans Water of yesteryear, but they haven’t forgotten their roots either. As for memorable verses and choruses, if you can figure them out, more power to you.Visit: Trumans Water | Asthmatic Kitty
Purchase: Insound | eMusic