Friday, 24 December 2010



This is soulful fucking record.  These songs can reduce me to tears; take me down when times are not good.

The blues and indie rock have generally tended to make for awkward bed fellows.  Indie rockers don’t generally have trouble paying the rent.  Even if they don’t have the funds, they have a safety net to cover and catch.  The only risk is that of self destruct.  This version however is the purest, most evocative sense.  It is affecting and amazing.  What they do is not secret but it is very special.  How it is made however can be home to secrecy and discretion.

Thank You is a powerful record.  It exudes a weird kind of gratitude that is not necessarily genuine or sincere.  There are two parties present in this exchange/consumption and it is not exactly clear which is the more important to the other.

In many ways Royal Trux is terrifying.  The cool desperation that seeps from every pore, every lick is that of chasing the next sandwich regardless of which kind of fix that is (and they are in).  The band feels so off the mainstream radar that they might be the basis of militia.

This album tends to appear in my life in broken situations.  When people belittle me I’ll search it out and bring it up.  The pace matches recovery.  Released in 1995 the band was now gaining attention from people with money (industry types) and the fresh direction was touching a sweet spot between Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones.  Rather than being a dilution of a dilution the charge of empowerment from each source brought a whole new rasping energy which comfortably sat with their lifestyle, personality and methodology.  As Herrema squawked like a modern Janis Joplin there was something distinctly masculine and bluesy in her motions and ultimate function of the band.  The broken energy soars more than prior lo-fi gestures.

From the off the band is acting like a well oiled machine.  Behind Herrema and Hagerty the engine room rhythm section is given a lot of room breath and with it comes real funk drive as each piece of the puzzle is given space to star.

Often surface sloppy the nods to the Stones can be heard hardest in singalong of “Ray O Vac” while the expansive wail of “The Sewer Of Mars” is quite Led Zep.  Indeed the rumbling, bubbling bass of “Granny Grunt” almost sounds like Thin Lizzy.

Lyrically “Map Of The City” with its slow sweeping blues of working class crimes contains equally images of cancer and masturbation while “Lights Of The Levee” with its big bridges ends with the question “when will the water wash me out?”

Of the more familiar tracks opener “A Night To Remember” is funk driven promise which saw the band performing live on The Word while single “You’re Gonna Lose” was glorious bargain bin stuff all scuffed and too damaged/dirty to make a common dent.

The masterpiece is left to last “Shadow Of The Wasp” literally stings the listener was an explicit description of a struggle to secure goods.  One Friday night I found myself in a perfect life sync with this track as during a moment of the blues attached to an impending emotional and physical exchange in Deptford I couldn’t decide whether I was caught in the saddest and happiest of times.  Slow, subtle and sedate it paints a rough picture of proceedings ahead of stepping up a gear as it launches into the chorus where it questions if things were actually better in the past as they complain about being “sick of searching to get hooked on a feeling”.  Then the third movement kicks in and all erupts heavily layered.  All in all its tiring stuff and then it (and the album) ends on a drum solo.  Special.

This is an album that can change days, maybe even lives.

Thesaurus moment: benefaction.

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