Under Review

Nikki Sudden

The Truth Doesn’t Matter

Secretly Canadian

Review By BRock Thiessen


In 2006, Nikki Sudden’s life ended suddenly at age 49, while on tour in New York. But before his passing, Sudden lived a productive life, recording numerous albums from the early 70s onward. Of his prolific work, he’s probably best known for his post-punk outfit, Swell Maps, whose noise experiments and left-of-centre punk inspired legions of followers like Sonic Youth and Pavement. However, Sudden left the more abrasive sounds of the Maps long ago, and eventually went on to record albums more akin to the Faces or the Rolling Stones than punk rock. His final album, The Truth Doesn’t Matter, continues in this direction. Sudden recorded The Truth near the end of 2005 in Berlin, and it reads like a map of all the different styles of music that influenced his life and career. He shows his adoration for Phil Spector on the doo-wop number, “The Ballad of Johnny and Marianne.” He gives a nod to the disco era on “Seven Miles.” And he worships the Stones on “Empire Blues.” But the album hits its peak with “Green Shield Stamps,” where Sudden hints at a life well-lived through the tale of his and his late brother’s upbringing in 60s England and their love of rock ‘n’ roll.While these songs might be from an older time and place, fans of Sudden’s work will be pleased he managed to get out one last good one before he left.