05 July 2010

I bought this on Amazon for less than a pack of cigarettes

Royal Trux - Untitled (Drag City 1992)
The third album from the duo that is Royal Trux is supposed to be the conventional one. It's advertised as being less experimental, and more direct. The first two albums are kind of brilliant in their ability to blur the lines between unlistenable and totally rad. The subject matter is still largely the same, but the third LP is definitely less strung out than it's predecessors. The whole record is only thirty two minutes long, as opposed to Twin Infinitives which clocked in at four tracks and sixty three minutes.
This was the first of two albums that Royal Trux recorded in Rockville, Maryland, and it's also the second to last album recorded by the band for Drag City. After Cats and Dogs was released in 1993, the major labels dangled serious dollars in front of the band. It was an attempt to find the new Nirvana. What a raw deal. After making beautifully pure and honest music, a band is taken captive by sweating, scheming suits and are then forced to make agreeable music. What if they don't want to make convenient, tidy music? What if they'd rather make noise and occasional song? Looking back, it arguably doesn't matter since Royal Trux never blew up and as are beneath the ground now as they were in the early nineties.
If you think about it like that, then it's actually a pretty great 'fuck you' to the major labels. They spent money, and assume they failed because there was no chart success, but at the same time they didn't even really know what they were dealing with in the first place. They had to accept all blame, and the reason they are the guilty ones is because they don't get 'it'. This is justice so sweet it could only be doled out by Batman.
Unsurprisingly, this record is a grower. The groove for this album is planted in the brain early on in the process, but it's not until much later that the light goes off. It's unpredictable in the sense that the listener expects it to go berserk at any moment, but it never does. The songs continue to play, and they are good but they're not totally weird. The whole thing sounds like 1992 and whatever bullshit that comes with it. There's the potential that upcoming years may not suck, and that's a popular line of thinking, but there's still room for skepticism. This album is very grounded in it's presentation. It's not trying to blow anyone away, or hit them in the head with awesomeness. It has songs on it, that are meant to be listened to. It's not an endurance test like earlier efforts. It's more inviting, while still possessing qualities of exclusivity. If the time has already been put in, then it's quite the experience. If it's the first listen, then it's something different and new. All things considered, it's a pretty conventional album.

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