Published Jan 14, 2014Nashville's DeRobert & The Half-Truths make unapologetically blue-collar music. This is a funk record that succeeds in falling into the right pocket and scratching an itch you hadn't yet pinpointed. Tonally, DeRobert is akin to Cee-Lo Green, sans the eccentricities. But gimmicks aren't needed here. For the most part, this is a funk record that is undeniably now, without allusions of vintage. Reverb is applied with the utmost restraint, and most instruments are kept clean and upfront. The familiar breakbeat and surf guitar of "Goin' Places" may be the exception that works, however. Few can deny the opening four bars of "Ooo Wee," in which a walking bass line, punctuating horns and drum fills accompany a chorus of, yes, "ooo wees."
While the majority of the album features playing by a half-dozen musicians, DeRobert is the sole vocalist on the project, handling the leads and all backup duties. The album opens (and closes) with a church-inspired title track that has DeRobert delivering an unplugged performance of claps, foot stomps and overdubbed vocals. Perhaps the only complaint one could file about this album is that it's certainly a safe choice; funk with a casual cleanliness; performances inspired by Southern Black churches, but distinctly secular. Still, that's not a bad box to be painted into if the music sounds as good as I'm Tryin' does. (G.E.D. Soul Records)