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REVIEW: Royal Trux - Accelerator

REVIEW: Royal Trux - Accelerator

By: Jeff Daily
Follow Jeff Daily on: Twitter
October 18, 2012
From the opening thin, distorted guitar riff of "I'm Ready" Royal Trux make it clear they are ready to kick out the jams, motherfuckers. On 1998's Accelerator RT recorded a wonderfully bizarre noise album that has start to finish killer songs on it. Drag City is reissuing the album and I highly recommend seeking it out.

I never listened to RT before picking this album up...what a mistake. Accelerator is so whacked-out and loud that I definitely understand the backstory of the band's major label, Virgin, dropping them from their roster instead of releasing this semi-lo-fi mess. RT's Neil Hagerty and Jennifer Herrema are not interested in crossing over into the mainstream megaverse. They are snotty, brash, asshole songsters and like many obstinate artists who came up in the 80s underground, they only wanted to please themselves.

The band's two previous major label albums, Thank You and Sweet Sixteen, were conceptually two parts of a planned three part series deconstructing "rock" decades. First the 60s, then 70s, and by Accelerator they were working on ripping apart the 80s. I don't know if I necessarily hear that, but the songs all somehow sketch out great guitar riffs and hooks buried un heaps of noise and strangled vocals. Listening to this album is like hearing The Residents play (slightly straight) punk rock while jamming on Stones tunes while taking uppers and downers at the same time. Seriously, what they hell were these people smoking?

Songs like "The Banana Question" and "Follow the Winner" have a way of being almost annoying on first listen until BAM they hit ya upside the head. I love the mucky keyboards mixed with fuzzed electric riffage. I'm inspired by this stuff. The album ends with a hilarious (and tightly written/performed) soul tinged homage to Steven Segal, "Stevie (for Steven S.)." To my ears this song is years ahead of its time because it could easily sit alongside the tunes of Flight of the Conchords...

Accelerator is the sound of record collecting art-punks knowingly fucking shit up, but also taking the classic album making process seriously enough to come out with that sounds like few others. Rarely does an album sound unlike handfuls of other collections of songs or stoop to simply genre clich├ęs and Accelerator does neither with ease. Royal Trux are weird and that makes for some unique listening.
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