New York Knitting Factory

The poster children of beautiful dissolution...

They’ve been up and they’ve been down, but [a]Royal Trux[/a] have never lost their cool. Through lo-fi anonymity and major label creative slumps, bad drugs and diabolical haircuts, they’ve remained the poster children of beautiful dissolution. Tireless enactors of the rock ‘n’ roll myth wasted youth, self-defeating nonchalance, intermittent spasms of pure, shambolic genius they epitomise the squalid glamour of New York‘s underground.

However, it was only after [a]Neil Hagerty[/a] and Jennifer Herrema deserted the downtown sleaze-rock scene which spawned them in favour of rural West Virginia exile that they finally found their groove on the excellent ‘Accelerator’and ‘Veterans Of Disorder’ albums, pumping up their unironic embrace of ‘Exile On Main Street’ classicism with honky tonk blues and dub-heavy beats. Tonight, back in NYC to promote new record ‘Pound For Pound’, they don’t seem overly eager to impress and the crowd greet them with appropriate circumspection. Live, [a]Royal Trux[/a] are simultaneously the best and the absolute worst band imaginable.

Like fellow Pussy Galore family-tree-branch Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, [a]Royal Trux[/a] are a warped record set on repeat, yet almost always playing something extraordinarily unique. Their greatest moments are artfully dumb and narcotically hooky like the remedial garage riff of ‘Waterpark’, the full-throttle rock ‘n’ roll rasp of ‘Ready’, or the hilarious bits in ‘Juicy Juicy Juice’ when Herrema growls the low parts and Hagerty sings falsetto. It’s only when they lapse into self-indulgent, dead-eyed meanderings that they lose their charm they spend half their time onstage tuning up, there are innumerable tedious jam interludes, and every time they hit a high they fuck it up by going on too long or stopping too soon.

Nevertheless, when [a]Royal Trux[/a] are like this – not so much passed out on the bar-room floor as out back, puking their guts out in a skip, they are, quite literally, untouchable.