Royal Trux – White Stuff
Royal Trux return with White Stuff, reckoning with what it means to make a comeback record
It’s a precarious position to be in to make a comeback record, but with White Stuff Royal Trux have eschewed the delicate, indulging in every comeback record trope to create a beguiling examination of their place in the underground musical canon.
Given the band's most acclaimed work is 80s rock homage Accelerator, one could easily see the School's Out-referencing cover art as being an indicator that White Stuff will be a similar exercise in aesthetics. The opening title track feels like it could be heading in that direction, all crunching power chords and adolescent sneer, but in the chorus, drugs enter the lyrical landscape of the song as a destructive force. For a band who spent a great deal of their peak, not only mired in addiction but actively traded in a narcotised aesthetic, it's a bold, legacy shredding move.
This sets the template for the rest of the record, of interesting ideas over not all that interesting sonics. The relish with which they sing the title line on Suburban Junkie Lady is almost Brentian, and the whole thing never quite meshes into a coherent whole, but as a parody of bands going back to the same source they were using 30 years ago it’s pretty bang on. Similarly, Get Used To This sounds like a Code: Selfish offcut but the feature from Kool Keith, the crown prince of obstreperously attempting to shake oneself of acclaim, repositions the song as a deliberate attempt to subvert expectation, and quite a fun one at that.
The record is ultimately a conflicted one. It has masses of recalcitrant spirit but little in the way of sonic inventiveness, with songs feeling more and more one-note as the album goes on. In the end, we're left with 11 perfectly listenable songs that are not quite as interesting as the ideas that lie beneath them.
Listen to: Whopper Dave, Get Used To This, White Stuff