Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Roger O’Donnell “The Truth in Me” Review

Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

“It seems the bigger the band the more removed you are from the actual music.” As such Roger O’Donnell’s appropriately titled album The Truth in Me is what some might consider a realization of roots for an artist who has upheld quality and generated celebrity with all of the bands he has worked with in the past twenty years. There is no additional substance that would allow The Truth in Mea shiny exterior opposed to its jagged experimentalist shell, but the final product is the heart of a musician who had seemingly lost hope.

With the album O’Donnell takes a single instrument, a Moog Voyager, one which has been ineffective in acquiring general acceptance by popular electronic, rock and pop music, and has redefined not simply the instrument’s capabilities but his own. O’Donnell expands on the album, explaining it as something not simply derivative of his influences but of his inner emotions, “Consciously un-compromised or commercial, it’s a mainly instrumental journey through my musical influences and where I am. I was also inspired by Bjork’s use of a single instrument, the voice, on her record Medulla…Finally, music that I am satisfied with and that satisfies me, The Truth In Me says what I have been trying to say for a long time.”

It would be hard to define any song as a peak in the album, just as it would be hard to define the shape which the music takes. Throughout there are hints of up-tempo ambient and Asian popgaze, even hinting at fully developed vocal meshing with the assistance of Erin Lang, who contributes to three of the album’s tracks. The beauty can be found not on surface alone, but in the depth that multiple spins gives the listener. To analyze a sound or song is one thing, but to try and breathe in an entire album which is so smooth and well rounded it becomes a catastrophic deed to attempt to figure out the sound’s source and inspiration.

The Truth in Me is not a typical album, nor is the concept typical, nor the musician behind it. The album is a success in shifting O’Donnell’s scope and direction away from his historic sound, if he were to have even had one, and towards dangerous territory. O’Donnell has survived the journey into experimentalism and fared the hardships that come with channeling a source deep inside oneself, a feet few musicians get the opportunity to attempt; a feet which even fewer succeed at.

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]