So they’re talking again after a hiatus of well over a decade – wait, its almost two decades (doesn’t time fly?) they played together again in 2016 and now this, possibly their finest hour? Sure it’s still got all the off the wall guitar riffing it always had as Neil Hagerty’s Keith ‘The Human Riff’ Richards fixation is still very much intact and at the forefront (and so it should be) but there is something different here the songs are more fluid and cohesive. Like proper songs even.
The album kicks off with the title track that has a steady beat some slide some weird time changes then a cool as fuck vocal with a real stomping melody. “That White Stuff, This is the way it’s supposed to be” fuckin’ right it is. Come along they beckon and like the pied piper tooting before me and before I know it I’m reeled in and following along. But can they keep it up for a whole album have they still got their mojo?
To be fair and give credit where it’s due ‘Year Of The Dog’ is a decent second song. So its got a lot going on in the background (and the foreground) its got that Primal Scream kinda groove and away we go. ‘Purple Audacity #2’ sees things get a shakeup as Jennifer Herrema takes the microphone and walks us through the sleazy backwaters of backward guitar trickery for what is a bit of a comedown track. ‘Suburban Junky Lady’ sort of follows on with a duet of sorts as the sound takes a trip but its not a bad trip it kinda makes plenty of sense, a perfect sibling rivalry of sorts as they throw as many ideas at a wall and see what sticks (probably hoping it all sticks and they can record some white noise) I’m sure it’s not quite like that and I hope I’m not being too disingenuous or disrespectful there but I’m sure they love to deconstruct a rock and roll song and fuck it right up before handing it over to the listener. Take ‘Shoes And Tags’ it’s like Bowie in his mid 80’s loud guitar experimental stage but it’s not as sophisticated and you can’t help but feel there is gaffa tape holding this together in more than one place.
‘Get Used To This’ has early old school breakbeats and Kool Keith rapping about pizza it might not be wild rock n roll but its all part of the rich tapestry that Royal Trux paint and maybe they’re fucking with each other as much as the listener as a weird tension feels like its restrained under the surface and you know what we kinda like it like that and so does the dynamic duo.
The album was recorded via file swapping over the internet which might have influenced it in parts and I’m left wondering if I’ve just heard a band knock out a great tune or two people loving being difficult and trying to do my head in. Either way, I think I like it and there are songs I can’t stop playing and as soon as they finish I want to play them again ‘Sic Em Slow’ sounds like something Prince would record endlessly through the night whilst high on prescription pills its a real headfuck of a tune but it has charm and your drawn to it. Much like ‘Every Day Swan’. But they saved the best til last because ‘Under Ice’ is a classic makes you want to throw a party and get everyone round a drum filled with wood burning nicely whilst you all wave round beers singing along don’t worry about keeping time or being in tune or if your timing is a little haywire because that’s just it. Royal Trux are a little haywire and thank God they still are.
If every band just wrote intro – verse – chorus – verse – chorus – solo – verse – fade music might get stale. We need bands to push the envelope and fuck with us and twist our melons whilst wrapping barbed wire around their electric guitars before smashing them to pieces it all makes perfect sense when you get it much like their brothers and sisters in arms the Cramps or Jon Spenser long live Royal Trux and may their email tag songwriting partnership flourish and blossom. I really like ‘White Stuff’ even if I don’t wonder what the other eighteen wonders of the world might be.
Buy ‘White Stuff’ Here
Author: Dom Daley