Jennifer Herrema was one half of Royal Trux, one of the most under-rated bands of the 1990s. Along with her creative/romantic partner, Neil Hagerty, their brand of heroin-soaked classic rock and roll produced several classic albums (as well as a lot of dirgeful lo-fi meanderings). Since their split, Jennifer has formed a new band with a couple of younger musicians, Jaimo Welch and Nadow Eisenman.
This is their first album and it's pretty much a continuation of the classic Royal Trux sound. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Royal Trux and now RTX have a particular sound that I never get tired of hearing. It's true that this album didn't really have any stand-out songs like some of their tracks on classic albums like Accelerator --- instead of that, there's a kind of continuous sonic assault washing over you. Sleazy rock music with a classic flabour, reminiscent of Aerosmith or The Rolling Stones with bursts of guitar feedback and distortion adding texture to the mix. For some reason, this is the first time I've noticed how androgynous Jennifer's voice is. Her throaty rasp and slurred delivery are the perfect compliment to the music, which sounds accomplished but never sterile, loose but never sloppy. The lyrics are the usual surreal stream of consciousness so you're not missing much by only having arty photos in the booklet.
RTX sound like The Rolling Stones if Anita Pallenberg had staged a coup and ousted Mick Jagger. It's hard to produce music like this without sounding too forced or cliched but RTX succeed because they have the authentic spirit of rock and roll and you can't fake that.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN OCTOBER 2005.