‘Truth or Consequences’ album review

Image courtesy of Facebook.com/UnwedSailor

album: Truth or Consequences
artist: Unwed Sailor
genre: instrumental rock
release date: May 14, 2021
star rating: three out of five

review by Logan Rine

Unwed Sailor’s core member Johnathon Ford has been writing, composing, and releasing instrumental works through this project for more than two decades now. Truth or Consequences plays as a third installment, or follow-up, to what could be considered the band’s return from nearly 10 years of release silence. That silence began after Unwed Sailor’s 2008 LP Little Wars and was broken by 2019’s Heavy Age, then immediately followed by Look Alive (2020). This latest album led me through feelings of the familiar (sounds and guitar tones) from this artist’s early 2000s works but ultimately brought me to hearing a true deepening of craft and somehow even a sense storytelling without having to use a single word. All instrumental. All feels.

The opening track “Blitz” sets the pace and sonic space perfectly for a bright and inspired push-off to a trip drenched in late ‘80s/early ‘90s nostalgic drive. The dynamic of the album seems to ride perfectly at the meeting of a cinematic soundtrack and big band jam. The track called “Ajo” sitting at mid-album had my undivided attention immediately with the change in the LP’s dynamic. I might even consider it… a groove. This one-word title “Ajo” caught my eye and heart. It’s one I know well. Ajo is a word with Native American roots that means “yes” or “I agree” and is even used in native prayers as its ending, “amen.” This kind of finding makes me want to dig into this artist further. Significant to any listeners out there who might be on the path, ajo.

I’m a sucker for instrumental tunes already, while being a guitar player at heart as well, so this listen moved me perfectly along, top to bottom. I also feel a bit of pride as an Oklahoma-based artist myself, finding out that Ford – although forming Unwed Sailor in Seattle – was born and raised in Oklahoma. This album is beautiful. I give the experience three out five stars and encourage you to listen all the way through. Let it move you. It’ll be good for you, I promise.

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