Heart and Lung - You Wanna Know The Truth? [Reissue] (Cover Artwork)

Heart and Lung

You Wanna Know The Truth? [Reissue] (2020)

Red Scare

Last holiday season, I made the eight hour trip back to Cleveland from Philadelphia to spend time with the family. Of course, that also meant trying to find things kicking around in my hometown to avoid spending all my time with the family. While killing time in a local record store, I found a flyer for a Heart & Lung show that was taking place at the Happy Dog that evening. My familiarity with the band stemmed from a few opening slots on Lawrence Arms’ shows over the previous year so I made plans to catch the show. While never catching my attention the times I had seen them before, what did I have to lose? Maybe it was the hot dogs, but something that night changed my opinion on the band and I was sold.

With Heart & Lung’s recent signing to Red Scare, the label has reissued their 2017 debut You Wanna Know the Truth? and with the Cleveland, Ohio pop-punkers poised for a new release next year, it’s worth revisiting this LP for those who may have missed it. True to Cleveland form, the album kicks off with infamous Cleveland Indians announcer Todd Hamilton welcoming listeners in with “Telecaster,” a short minute long blast of poppy punk that serves as the album's introduction. You Wanna Know the Truth? is a delightful 26 minute long album showing off the band’s knack for harmonies, catchy guitar leads, and lighthearted appeal.

The following back-to-back-to-back of “Wasted,” “Hit Song No. 4,” and “Hey Man” are sure to catch the ear of any fan of the poppier side of pop-punk and is the highlight of the album. “Hit Song No. 4” sounds like vintage Allister showing off all of the above including the three part harmonies that drew me in that night at the Soggy Dog. “Hey Man” is a blast of infectious power-pop that will be sure to get you bouncing along with the crunchy down stroked guitars.

Part of the appeal of You Wanna Know the Truth? is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. That’s not to say the band shies away from a serious topic, it’s to say they approach it with a sense of humor. The album is also quintessentially Cleveland, a town once famously describe by it's own mayor as the 'butthole of the world.' “1954” addresses this directly with the song title referencing the last time the city’s cursed baseball team made it to the World Series while also naming the segregation that still plagues Cleveland. “North Coast Metropolis” deals with Peter Pan syndrome with the band singing, “I’m 30 going on 19 / And I’ll decide what that means / Maybe I can stay the same? / So fucking lame” while chalking it up to a Midwest apocalypse. “Recession” spins a 50 second tale of personal apathy washed away with whiskey and power chords.

Having been three years since new music, it will be exciting to see what Heart & Lung come up with to follow up You Wanna Know the Truth? Until then, this release deserves a wider audience to build that anticipation.