Created over the course of eighteen months while on tour, Trials & Truths is a vast album that reflects Horse Thief’s travels, creating a tighter and more mature sound than previous releases. Given that their debut LP Grow Deep, Grow Wild was conceived during their time in the University of Central Oklahoma, and Fear in Bliss was their first release working with a label, it is fitting that their third album is where Horse Thief truly finds their sound.
Trials & Truths isn’t a revolutionary album by any means, but instead dedicates itself to the craft of creating a solid indie-rock album. Impressively, the band showcase different themes and rhythms throughout while still retaining a recognisable style.
‘Another Youth’ has jaunty, bouncy rhythms – it’s easy to see why this song is the opening number, and the first single release from the album. ‘Difference,’ meanwhile, narrates the nuances of arguing with a significant other, with sharp bass lines punctuating specific jibes.
Cleverly, ‘Difference’ is immediately followed by the reflective number ‘Drowsy’ that takes a slow reflective spin on a relationship without the undertones of anger present in ‘Difference.’
‘Drowsy’ is an interesting contrast to ‘Falling for You,’ a song that takes a darker tone with haunting guitar lines and deep bass lines as Cameron Neal sings about how scary the prospect of falling in love can be.
The band’s travels are interwoven into songs such as ‘Empire,’ a sprawling psych-inspired song that reflects its title with Cody Fowler’s deep and fuzzy bass playing. ‘Million Dollars’ is melancholy ballad that has its roots in the band’s hometown of Denton, Texas – it’s impressive due to its tones of musical regret accompanied by lyrics about having made the right decisions. This is carried through to the final song on the album, ‘Santa Fe,’ which combines the upbeat drums seen in ‘Another Youth’ with Neal’s emotional notes and Fowler’s pace-driven bass.
Overall, the album isn’t filled with songs that will stick to the insides of your brain afterwards – it’s similar to the indie-rock talents from other bands, but it’s a fulfilling listen purely on the basis on the band’s devotion to their craft.