Truth Cult isn’t a band looking to hoodwink. They share their name with a Lungfish song, hail from DC, and as is often the case in that area or any grand scene, split members across several other bands worthy of your attention. Of course, not every group from the nation’s capital or who studied at the amps of Fugazi merits focus. Plenty of bands scrape from their tone without picking up on the importance of a diversity of influence, whether musical or philosophical. Truth Cult is not making this mistake.
Most vocals are handled by Paris Roberts, unafraid to swagger in and out and repeat the relevant portions of the sermon. Part of that confidence is knowing when to step aside as well, whether to shift the frame to Emily Ferrera’s complimentary revelations or the swampy interlock between the instruments. The performance betrays layers and confidence but not without an intentional play in the tension between every element—locked in but not over-rehearsed, each performance a hand-fashioned wick that sparks away.
If the first song from Off Fire doesn’t sway you, well, there ain’t much else to bring you aboard. But for those open to receive their chained melodies and swirling dialogues, Truth Cult stands and delivers. They pull deep from their namesake, though for me the richest connection is with the post-hardcore theatricality of Ink & Dagger. But instead of an obsession with impish chaos, Truth Cult are a typhoon of transformative astral energy that lives an earthly life.
This isn’t to imply that Truth Cult exist in the ether—they’re calling down cosmic radiation to illuminate the streets. The best parts of their influences are at play here—music ready for both the celebration and the fight, to start the fire of revolution and imagination. Off Fire is a turbulent twenty-four minutes, and each second agitates the body and the soul in the same ways as the best rock ’n roll ever did.
// Levi Rubeck is a critic and poet currently living in the Boston area. Check his links at levirubeck.com