The concept album is a species foreign to most of today’s music listeners. The boys of Project 86 not only want you to listen to their music and dig their sound on Truthless Heroes, they also want you to think a little bit.
Truthless Heroes takes major inspiration from Bear vs. Shark, a novel by Chris Bachelder, a satire on today’s entertainment industry. The album is a narrative about a boy who grows up to be “hollow,” along what he thinks is the traditional path to success, measured in terms of money, fame, beauty, sex, etc. The album is no Cinderella story.
The “hero” remains void; in fact, he sees no hope near the end (a satirical message the band certainly disagrees with). The album also comments on the consumerism in American culture, exploiting the addictive nature of the American dream.
“Another Boredom Movement” seems to sum up the dark side of the entertainment industry by saying; “The grins of your puppeteers are beaming/ Because quotas must be made/ Or your time in the spotlight will fade.” Many of the tracks are creepy, mock commercials laced with background piano music and drowned-out vocals chanting things like “I can be a hero/ I can be the light … I am your truthless hero/ Your savior in the little screen.”
One mock commercial actually contains a plug for truthlessheroes.com, the band’s own webpage which contains pictures, text, and some simply downright frightening pictures that add to the album’s message.
Project 86 embodies the same ideals as bands that hate the radio but love to hear their song on the air. The band, however, seems to emphasize finding a comfort zone in today’s culture, allowing individuality and self-worth to shine through. Lead singer Andrew Schwab incorporates more melody into his singing on Truthless Heroes‘ tracks, making his vocals teeter annoyingly between rap/rock and spoken.
Musical influences from classic rock have seeped into the band’s music and are apparent in the heavy bass lines and fairly complex guitar solos. While the message of Truthless Heroes is not unique, shocking or unheard of, it comes across as a genuine effort and a strong step for the band musically, lyrically and vocally.
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