It’s not every day you hear of rock bands with eight members. There are only a couple I can think of that have over six and fewer still that actually make good music. I got the opportunity to listen to Diesel Tunes by Working Class Hussys that happen to have eight members and actually make good music. The band features Ian Patrick Gentles (lead singer, acoustic rhythm guitar), Anthony Mann (drums), Brian Casale (electric bass), Mike McClellan (lead guitar), Gregory Winka (lead guitar) and vocalists Pattie Lynn, Amanda During and Ann Shi.
The band explores a topic throughout the whole album that is a niche and pretty darn specific. According to the band they “explore the common thoughts and experiences from professional truck drivers longing for home while living life on the open road.” You have to wonder where that idea came from. Was one of the band members a truck driver, or a parent of one of them maybe? Who knows? Either way this is a concept that could have easily collapsed without well-written songs and lyrics that go past the surface level. The concept is a vehicle in which the lyrics point to broader topic such as loss, sadness and hope. Of course there are some lyrics which refer to CB radios and traffic but quite often the lyricist is able to use it as a metaphor and sometimes not.
The journey begins with a formidable rocking tune entitled “To Tennessee.” The electric guitars have a country twang while the vocal harmonies complement the lead. It is a solid tune to start with because the vocalist sings about leaving, coming and going, which are the some of the general themes you hear throughout. He sings, “ A thousand miles to drop the load and move. Then it’s home, here I come. Every second I’m away is way too long, because everywhere I go reminds me of sweet Tennessee.”
“Life on The Road” contains a decent amount of melancholy, which sounds good on the band. There is a rich combination of instrumentation including drums, piano, bass and guitar that sound like a band playing live in a room.
Most of the lyrics are painted from a first person perspective throughout the album. Quite often they delve into actions and emotions from the “truck driver.” Take from example the lyric, “I'll get to bed by ten so I can rise at two a.m., and let the caffeine open my eyes like a true friend, but the street-lights look like full moons.”
Diesel Tunes is a unique album that covers a topic that was never done in so much detail before. It’s a cool concept but to be honest the songs would have worked either way. The writing and musicianship is the foundation and ultimately is what holds it together.
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