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The Rockit King: Truth Will Set You Free

Game-changing third studio album from overlooked Michigan rock’n’rollers.

It’s a happy feeling when an unofficial, anonymous-looking envelope turns out to contain one of your favourite new albums of the month. Things go from a suspicious “Hmm, what’s this?” to bounding across the office declaring, “I love this!”

Seemingly finding their way to Classic Rock Towers without a peep of publicity, The Rockit King have spent the last 14 years perfecting their chops in their native Michigan – embarking on stateside support slots with David Lee Roth and Sebastian Bach in the process.

Like so many gigging bands, they’re good but haven’t moved beyond a largely localised, DIY ethic and fanbase. So where do a bunch of seasoned dreamers go from here?

Obviously you assume (or at least hope) that every record, from every band, is intended to be the best thing they’ve ever done. But somehow Truth Will Set You Free is especially earnest in its sense of a group who’ve decided: “Right, no bullshitting, this is going to be the best rock’n’roll record we can make.”

And that, basically, is exactly what they’ve done. Corners aren’t cut, winning hooks aren’t milked endlessly, different moods are all pursued with gusto… It’s a complete, tasty meal of an album – rooted in blues, steeped in classic rock and prettied up with personality.

Opener All’s You Got sets the agenda, gradually introducing layer upon increasingly gratifying layer of lean, mean rock’n’roll machinery. Dirty verse riffs and twin-lead touches seem to form the song’s zenith, until the soulfully harmonised chorus slides in – and is even better. One of those splendidly assured, characterful starters that suggests you’re in safe hands from here on in. Assuming you can stop yourself immediately pressing ‘replay’. You really shouldn’t, though, when the sassy likes of Wha Chu Say are lurking round the corner, tantalisingly layering on the groove.

At the softer end of their spectrum, the tender balladry and stirring pop harmonies of Who R U are irresistibly lovelorn yet packed with colour – as is the pensive, syncopated Ours To Know, complete with splashes of swashbuckling, wah-filled guitar strutting. After one listen, you’ll like it. Give it two or three, however, and you’ll really be onto something.

If everyone got their just deserts, Truth Will Set You Free would make The Rockit King fabulously successful. At the very least, it should earn them a few more fans – they more than deserve them. If you take a punt on one new record this month, why not make it this one?/o:p

Polly is Features Editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage) and writes a few things. She also writes for Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer, and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.