Review: The Treat - Audio Verité/Deceptive Blends
Label: Rockular Recordings, Ltd.
Released: June 15, 2009
One of the best things about the Treat's last album, 2007's Phonography, was its ability to really move around through rock's past. It was the movement from influence to influence that gave the album a lot of its life and that's why their new approach is a little bit disappointing. The double CD Audio Verité/Deceptive Blends is organized more like a double LP with four sides, each with its own direction, and that makes the whole affair more of a sterile exercise than a celebration. While it's a significant hit to the album's overall energy, there are still some good fine songs here even if not displayed as well as in the past.
The first "side," Side Rock, takes a straightforward approach, dealing mostly in 70s hard rock (with the exception of the rather pop-oriented "On the Waterfront"). I could have done without the opener's bow to AC/DC, but things kick into gear with the bombastic "Showtime." Whether tapping blues rock or glam or something in between, the Treat show clearly that they can rock in a way that brings the past alive.
Side Acoustic is broader than the name suggests, dabbling in acoustic psychedelia as much as folk or blues. Syd Barrett and Led Zeppelin make their mark on the side's best cuts, which far outshine the weak, meandering "Sweet Jasmine."
On Side Electric, they take another stab at hard rock with the heavier "Massive Attack" and the edgier, bluesier "Anger Management." With the exception of the psyche trippiness of "Silent Voices," this is ground largely covered by Side Rock, only amped up a bit.
Side Experiment is a bit of a misnomer as experiemntation isn't really what the Treat is about. These "experiments" are more about reliving the experimental music of the late 60s rather than reliving its experimental spirit. Still, there are some fine detours into psyche, funk and early prog even if nothing really goes out on a limb.
The Treat essentially attack their music in detail on Audio Verité/Deceptive Blends and that does a better job of illustrating their skill than it does of making a great album. Even if they prove their point on all four counts, which is questionable at times, my head understands it better than my heart...and that is the album's principle flaw.
If you're curious about my rating categories, read the description.