The Painful Side Of True
Independent release, 2009
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/06/2010
Congratulations Sexstone. I feel this release.
Sexstone would have a high place among the musical landscape across these United States if they would sing about sex, drugs, and boozin’ up. The world is not a perfect place, though, and this quartet from Kentucky avoids the clichés that have driven the commercial success of Hinder and Buckcherry. Entirely and completely, this is good news to those listeners who feel this band’s pain through their material.
The album begins with opening lyrics by vocalist Steven Bauer: “I just want to thank you / For taking the best part of me / And drowning me / Yes thank you / For putting me into this state / Of anarchy” and continues with each band member joining the song. It is the best way this release could have possibly opened. Hooked initially with Bauer’s emotional tirade, the song then has bassist Trent Riley entering the mix with a bass groove that cements the song. He plays an interlude under guitarist Steve Wheeler’s straightforward riff. Drummer Troy Dalton’s drum fills are understated, yet drive the song forward.
And so it goes on like that for Sexstone. Wheeler’s acoustic guitar begins “Where,” a ballad that showcases Dalton’s hi-hat and tom tones. Later, Bauer bleeds his soul as he sings the lyrically depressing “My Night,” which talks about how “My nights are dark and filled / with thoughts of how to end this pain / And even on a sunny day / All I see is darkness in the rain.” He continues singing about his ideal life and how his current situation is anything but ideal. The equally depressing “Wait for Me (Soldiers Song)” traces the story of a soldier leaving and not being able to see the birth of a child as a result.
This is a top-tier group of four musicians whose motto “It you can’t feel it, it’s not worth listening to” is demonstrated with each track on this disc. Based solely upon the manner in which vocalist Steven Bauer wrenches his soul to deliver a stellar performance on each and every song on this release, I feel the frustration and bitterness in Bauer’s vocals. I feel the power in the drum fills from Troy Dalton, never overpowering but always letting his presence be felt. I feel it in guitarist Steve Wheeler’s tasteful leads and simplistic rhythm guitar riffs, as well in the rumbling of Trent Riley’s bass guitar. I feel this release. You will feel it, too, after you purchase it.