No one ever accused Royal Trux of being predictable. After releasing the desiccated blues-rock of Accelerator in 1998, the band prepared for a huge European tour (after the album was received so surprisingly well) by recording the 3-Song EP with newly acquired touring members David Pajo (ex-Slint, among others), Jon Theodore, and returning player Rian Murphy. The new players give these songs the upfront power Accelerator so coyly hid behind (or expanded with) lo-fi hiss, and three songs go in radically different directions. Opener “Deafer Than Blind” is as directly soulful as rock music gets, meshing mantra-like backing vocals with sweating, swampy hooks, and acts as a bright counterweight to the swampy take on Ritchie Haven’s “Run, Shaker Life” that closes the EP. In between, you get the epic and brilliant “The United States v. One 1974 Cadillac El Dorado Sedan”. The song builds on the rumble of Pajo’s bass, but builds quickly on tangling, rippling guitars and Theodore’s steady percussion. It takes tangents through epic choruses, spacious wah-pedal and synth vamps, and a section comprising pretty much only ragged layers of vocals. It’s a perfectly untethered moment for a perfectly untethered band. Here, instead of the fidelity breaking down, it’s the song structures that crack, which—in the hands of Royal Trux, as you may have guessed—only makes them stronger. So while this may seem a slight release to reissue, the music goes much further than its 13-minute running time implies.
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// Notes from the Road
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