Rod Liddle

Royal Trux: White Stuff

How Royal Trux crawled from their opiate shack in Virginia to muster the energy for a new album is a miracle

Royal Trux: White Stuff
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Royal Trux are back — kind of. Singer (if that’s what you want to call what she does) Jennifer Herrema is ankle tagged for some misdemeanour, almost certainly involving narcotics, so may not show up at some gigs to promote the new album. And her partner and ex-husband Neil Hagerty has washed his hands of the whole business: ‘The album — I didn’t approve of it. I have no idea what it is. I’ve heard like ten seconds of one song. I’m out, man.’ So as ever, it’s chaos all round, opiate chaos.

How these two people are still alive is a wonder. How they crawled from their shack in Virginia to muster the energy for a new album is also a miracle. A wonderful miracle. They were, along with Sparklehorse, the best band of the mid to late 1990s. Magnificently incoherent scuzz blues rawk with lyrics about batteries and wasps and stuff. They may be my favourite band of all time.

White Stuff is right up there alongside Accelerator and Thank You. Herrema’s choked growl sounds agreeably demented and Hagerty’s guitar rambles, helplessly, all over the place. Occasionally a barked chorus will emerge from the sleazy morass. One song seems to be a tirade against swans. Another, ‘Shoes and Tags’, sounds like Herrema’s old buddy Jon Spencer with the smugness stripped away. There’s even a sort of ballad, the utterly charming ‘Suburban Junky Lady’. Elsewhere, there’s some ur-rap on ‘Get Used To This’ and a minor foray into electronics. But mostly its Stonesy raunch played by people who probably aren’t in the best of health. It’s fab.