Saturday, January 4, 2014

Veterans Of Disorder: Another Royal Trux Reissue From Drag City

How many of these have I reviewed? It seems like only a week ago that I was throwing my words behind the reissue of 1998's Accelerator and now here I am in a new year bringing it down around 1999's Veterans Of Disorder, out now on Drag City.

Jennifer Herrema and Neil Hagerty -- Royal Trux, don't you know? -- kick open the doors and get serious with some Stones-y riffs and some wigged out scuzz rock on this record.

And you can thank the good folks at Drag City for -- once again -- doing a masterful job at reissuing these records.

"Waterpark" sees Neil and Jennifer indulge in some decidely Hanoi Rocks-ish riffage, more Axl and Slash than Axl and Slash. This tune is -- let's face it -- near-metal folks and I don't mean that in a bad way; there's a thin line between Sonic Youth and Pussy Galore.

"Stop" is pure 1970s acid rock -- the kind of thing stoners would nod along with in the neighborhood "head shop" -- it's a pastiche of classic rock but with a punk rock sneer behind it.

"Second Skin" is the bastard spawn of Thurston Moore and grunge -- it's an unholy but catchy racket. The guitar noise here is just glorious -- I'm sure Neil wore out the effects pedals on this one.

Hagerty gets mellow -- a bit -- on "The Exception" and "Witch's Tit" but it's an uneasy sort of mellow full of menace.

"Lunch Money" cranks along fast and kicks thing into a new direction -- still rockin' and still conventional in structure -- then things get weird.

The final three longer cuts on Veterans Of Disorder look back to the edgier moments on the first Royal Trux record from 1988.

"Sickazz Dog" sees Jennifer go all Patti Smith-meets-Mick-and-Keef but it's still a long, fuzzy stomper. But the closer, "Blue Is The Frequency" is longer and more abrasive. It's a risky move but Veterans Of Disorder works 'cause of the 2 halves of the record blending together -- short riff-rockers and longer trippy expansions.

If 1998's Accelerator was the "breakthrough" for Royal Trux, 1999's Veterans Of Disorder was the moment when the band took chances, playing to both their blues-y riff-heavy strengths as well as to their noise-nik experimenter tendencies.

More details on this reissue and all the other Royal Trux reissues on the Drag City website.

WATERPARK from Royal Trux on Myspace.