The terms “honest” and “true” are most often prescribed to the following:

  1. When the situation and/or products are clearly neither, but the marketing team wants you to believe otherwise
  2. Foods with a laxative property

Here’s the conundrum. For years I have told readers that New Jersey’s The Successful Failures are both these things, and I’m not sure if I’ve helped them out with my support or caused people to be circumspect.

Rather than try to work my way down to the bottom line, I’ll start with it instead. The band’s latest album, Saratoga, will probably land in my top 5 for 2019. It might even go all the way.

There’s simply no time for pretension on this album, even if it has the song with the worryingly titled “Knoxville Suite.” The collection amounts to a straightforward, purpose-driven mission: pick up your guitars, your drumsticks, your amps, and let’s go.

As before, lead singer/guitarist/songwriter Mick Chorba has identified the essentials of clean copy, being a proper distributor of concise storytelling and melody without the weight of B.S. that could just as easily have bogged down the works.

“No White Knight In Knoxville”

I wish I could do a proper ranking to give a sense of ebb and flow with the record, but from the opening moments of “Because We’re Ghosts” to the end of “Where Were You?” the band is at peak form. If pushed, I’d say both “The Ocean & The Stars” and “No White Knight In Knoxville” are standouts, but stand out from what? That would presume the rest of this 11-track effort wasn’t up to snuff, and that’s not the case at all.

Rather than belabor the already belabored argument, I’ll merely say, stop. Don’t argue with me. Seek out The Successful Failures’ Saratoga. It is honest and it is true. No focus groups necessary.

Pre-order Saratoga from Bandcamp at

By Dw Dunphy

Dw. Dunphy is a writer, artist, and musician. He has contributed many articles that can be found in the MusicTAP's archives. He also writes for New Jersey Stage,, Ultimate Classic Rock, Diffuser FM, and Looper. His interview archive is available at