For the last couple of weeks, I have spent a lot of time listening to some favourite albums from the last few years. Specifically, I have been relentlessly turning up Fuzzy Logic by the Super Furry Animals, Screamadelica by Primal Scream and what must be a strong contender for 'best rock n roll album ever':
Accelerator by Royal Trux.
From the first line Now you know I'm ready/Can't you see I'm ready in the song er "I'm Ready", with its sick riff and crap sounding, but ultimately perfect drum fills, this album is unparalleled. It's a combination of all the Trux's best features; kick-ass teenage lyrics, dirty fuzzy/warped guitar parts, electronic drums, drugs, dancing, Keith Richards, long breaks, fast fills and Steven Segal.
Best songs: undoubtedly "The Banana Question", "Juicy, Juicy, Juice" and "Song for Steven S" are my absolute favourites. "Another Year" is also excellent, as are all of the other songs. I feel like I'm going to be talking about this album for the next thirty years, and only a few special people will ever like it. Even Primal Scream agreed that
"Royal Trux are the best band in the world, and Accelerator is the best album ever made – it's so good that we chose to name one of the songs on our platinum selling XTRMNTR album after it – this is an act of worship, not of theft!" (or words to that effect).
One of the very best things about the Trux is trying to work out what words they are singing. Now, I am not the only person who has noticed this, but there are a large number of super poncey dickheads who act like to admit you can't understand the words in one song is like walking around screaming about how much you love the Rembrandts or something. Clearly, it is nothing like that. I hate the Rembrandts. But I do have some trouble with some of the lyrics. Did you ever love you a / Sealed up sack / So bad you had to / I don't know but I think he says Czar after that.
Of course, the ultimate in difficult to detect lyrics must be what happens behind the ultimate guitar solos ever. I am, of course, talking about 'Juicy, Juicy, Juice' – in the first verse, I can only make out: "…something something about those things/ Well even if I had to set it back/ Fly like a (mother/mama) (to/through) the bullet-holes/ In front of the cops, cut to hanging it loose/ We paid our membership dues". Now, I can see that this looks like complete gibberish but you must understand that it is a labour of love, trying to obtain a meaning from these lyrics. I remember the joy of finally decrypting the frankly simple "Red light/ Makes 'em think we're going the wrong way/ Wrong way!" in 'The Banana Question'. Trux lyrics are, even during their simplest phases, extremely freeform. They're not just words, they're part and parcel with the elaborately designed slack-sound of the music. Jazz poetry. Rap.
In 'Liar', we are treated to some classic Trux counterpoint as Neil and Jen echo eachother in what? An argument ? They both howl "Don't be a liar!" at strategic moments, so maybe they're both talking to someone else. I got a taste in my mouth/ Just like a burning tyre/ I forgot what I knew with you/Don't be a liar! Riff. Organ. Drums. Solo. Noise. Words. If there is a better soundtrack to my kind of party, I'd like to hear it. No forget it. What is that, the Rembrandts?
'Song For Steven S' is the first Royal Trux song I ever heard. It's a bit difficult, because the song has been claimed for numerous Steven S's (Spielberg, Soderberg, Smith) – I still tell everyone who asks – and many who don't – that it's all about Steven Segal, "You don't know how the camera works/ But there's always someone there to fix 'em" – I don't know, if you think it was another Steven then that's ok.
This album is just great, OK? If you can't get that then you lose. It's difficult for me to find an album from the 90's which rings so pure and strong now. Maybe Screamadelica. Maybe Fuzzy Logic. Maybe Loveless. Maybe Discovery. I don't know – all of those albums (and many, many others) just seem to fade into obscurity and comedy when I play Accelerator. Perhaps I have burnt my brain out by listening to it too much? But I genuinely, honestly believe that this album is One of the best and most important of the 1990's. We'll see, cos there are plenty of bands right now ripping off the Clash and Television. Lets wait another five years for the Trux-alikes to come along (apart, that is, from the obvious ones like White Stripes andThe Kills).
OK so Royal Trux have completely split (it happened ages ago, it still pisses me off). Jen (now calling herself JJ Rox) has a new album out and what I have heard of it is pretty good. Accelerator style.
Follow the Winner.
Album review: Accelerator by Royal Trux. 1 out of 1. This album is one of my 5 all time top best ones.
Update: Actually, I'm not a massive fan of Jennifer's RTX stuff. Check out Neil Hagerty's solo albums and the Howling Hex for some really interesting music.