Trucker Diablo has always reminded me in the past of a British Black Stone Cherry. I thought the Northern Ireland quartet was a little one dimensional but always great live and a lot of fun. With Tail End Of A Hurricane, they show a real variety; the southern sounding rock gets combined with lively tuneful A.O.R, full of hooks and singable choruses. At a time of much-needed escapism; the album brings about the feeling of being at a music festival: the anthems, dancing, arm-waving, lyric singing and beer drinking.
The album kicks off with the full out rocker BTKOR. The song references the live music experience, all the sounds and feelings of the live show. It has a chant-along chorus that is loud and clear. With an abundance of wild guitar, this listener is looking forward to raising a beer to this song in a muddy field. The next track I Am Still Alive, is a song about surviving; it shows a maturity rarely heard in Trucker Diablo’s earlier work. It is uplifting; a real arm-waving anthem and sets the tone for most of the remainder of the album.
The calm before the storm.
The catchy feelgood factor continues on Rock Kids Of The ’80s. It namechecks lots of popular rock songs from the 1980s and is an enjoyable tribute to an era most of their fans remember all too well (although it is the next track that has the more authentic 1980’s feel). Don’t Hold On To Hate has a real old school rock riff, the kind that brings about images of dancing in a field on a hot sunny day. It continues the positive optimistic feel of the album with uplifting melodies and a party rock feel. This continues with the uptempo pop-punk tinged Set The Night On Fire. A fun party song although, unlike Spinal Tap, they are content to only turn up to ten.
The high and the low.
Just when the listener is starting to switch off a little, the atmosphere changes, the dark clouds appear and the more mature Trucker Diablo raise their heads again with The Tail End Of A Hurricane. It is no surprise that the album was named after this; riffy guitars interspersed with pounding drums feel like rain pounding down. It has a midsection that feels like you are inside a festival circle pit or actually inside a hurricane, yet it remains melodic throughout. The festival experience continues as we get a curveball thrown in to confuse and separate (the middle track on the album).
Insects is a ballsy song about online behaviour. It is very fast, punky and definitely detracts from the feel good vibes of the rest of the album. It does not jar too much but alters the mood (kind of feels like when drunk couples are arguing at music festivals) and feels like the rain is continuing to fall down, despite the ‘it’s okay not to be okay’ message.
Classy, melodic and at times breathtaking. Blue skies return.
The Edge Of Tonight is perfectly placed on the album as a much-needed piece of A.O.R balladry. Classy and well-produced, it sounds like a totally different band to the previous track. This is where the album goes from strength to strength, content to put their more inspired, adventurous and cultured works on Side 2. The first side is for the young and young at heart, the second is for the adults. The Trade has a Black Stone Cherry feel in both the music and storytelling. It has a real driving feel and wakes up the album, a track that gets better with each listen. This Burning Heart has a sing-along chorus and sounds like the brand of A.O.R that H.E.A.T. does well. Again the glossy production adds depth to the radio-friendly sound.
Saving three of the best til last.
Woodstock To Vietnam is classic storytelling about the different choices people can make, it certainly rocks with a danceable melody that really gets us in the mood for the next track. Just like Guns n Roses hiding ‘Sweet Child Of Mine‘ in the middle of Side 2, the Trucker boys have hidden Slow Dance at the tail end of the album. Well, it certainly is not slow and it has a mean groove. It should easily fill a dance floor and brings us right back to the festival feel of the album. The fact it stands between contrasting songs, and away from the early sets standard rockers make this the perfect penultimate song, such a joyful, danceable and delightful tune.
The only way you can follow a song like that is to go down the epic route and Trucker Diablo have done exactly that with Bury The Ocean. It is heavy, dramatic and menacing. At times it reminds me of the ‘Black Album’ era Metallica, other times reminiscent of Nickelback mixed with Shinedown. It has an almost pagan folk heart yet with a rocking driving beat. A fine conclusion to a varied album that really does take you to a field with a family of rockers clutching plastic cups of beer, enjoying great music.
Tail End Of A Hurricane is available for pre-order from the bands website and is available from all good retailers from Friday 07th May 2021.
Tom Harte – Vocals, Guitar
Simon Haddock – Guitar, BV
Jim McGurck – Bass, BV
Terry Crawford – Drums
Track Listing: 1. BTKOR 2. I Am Still Alive 3. Rock Kids Of The 80s 4. Don’t Hold On To Hate 5. Set The Night On Fire 6. Tail End Of A Hurricane 7. Insects 8. This Burning Heart 9. The Edge Of Tonight 10. The Trade 11. Woodstock To Vietnam 12. Slow Dance 13. Bury The Ocean