Martin Courtney on Truck – Surprise! Surprise!


While Martin Countney’s name usually goes hand in hand with Real Estate, he’s steadily building up a catalog of solo works that shine in their own right. With a new album on the way from Domino next week, he’s poised to further entrench himself as a solo artist in the ears of listeners. As the album approaches I’d asked Martin to pick out an entry for Hidden Gems. Martin digs into the van staples for a reissue that’s weathered the years with him and become a constant. Check out his dive into Truck’s sole 1974 album.

“Truck is a Singaporean psych rock band consisting of two brothers and another dude. There really isn’t much information about this record online, but as far as I can tell, they recorded an earlier version of it with another guy under the name The October Cherries (such a sick name), but then kicked him out, deleted his guitar parts, and replaced them with insane synth… or something?”

“I first heard this album the same way I heard a lot of music for the first time over the last decade or so,” recalls Courtney, “while sitting in the back of the Real Estate tour van as our dear old drummer, Jackson Pollis, jockeyed the aux cord. These songs jumped out at me and I asked him who it was. He told me the name of the band and that they were from Singapore, which seemed notable to me. I asked him to burn me a cd (remember those days), and it became a driving around staple for me. The cd is long gone, but I still come back to this album on YouTube often.” 
“A lot of times on long drives on tour, whatever music is on will just wash over me as I zone out on my phone or read a book or whatever. That’s not possible with Truck. For better or worse (better), the sonic space this album occupies overall sits squarely in the “unignorable” zone. The singer’s double-tracked vocals are extremely pleasingly high pitched, the drums cut oh so nicely, and the synth patches they’re using I can only describe as confounding, but somehow right. Everyone in this band rips, but the drummer is a star. Love his playing.” 
“The main thing that has kept me coming back to this album are the songs. There really isn’t a dud on here. “Broken Chair” is a ballad for the ages, with a gargantuan chorus. An absolutely tremendous tune. I saw someone online compare this album to Wings-era Paul McCartney, and I’d say that’s fairly apt. Hyper melodic music, hooks on top of hooks, mutated by weird synth sounds and sometimes nonsensical lyrics. It’s amazing to me that this album isn’t more well known. It seems to have only been reissued once in the early 2000s by a Spanish label. Light in the Attic or whatever, take note.” 

Now, I love this feature for the recommendations of things that are brand new to me, but sometimes its also nice to be reminded of a favorite of my own. Martin’s van favorite caught me around the same time, shortly after the Guersson reissue of Surprise! Surprise! came out in 2004. The label issued the record on CD and LP, but sadly both are harder to find these days. Though as Guersson is still cookin’ there’s hope that they may reissue again. Discogs should prove worthwhile for some searching, but the record can at least be heard in full streaming for now. I second the recommendation to check this one out. A lost classic! Martin’s new record, Magic Sign is out June 24th.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top