Royal Trux

Platinum Tips + Ice Cream

  • AllMusic Rating
    7
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Even though many of the great indie bands of the '80s and '90s eventually got back together in the 2000s and 2010s, a Royal Trux reunion seemed impossible -- until it wasn't. Joined by Black Bananas drummer Tim Barnes and Howling Hex bassist Brian McKinley, Jennifer Herrema and Neil Hagerty initially re-formed the band for a pair of 2015 dates in Los Angeles and New York that were mixed into this righteously ragged live document. Platinum Tips + Ice Cream proves it didn't take them long to tap into the barely controlled chaos of Trux: even with its relentless cowbell, "Junkie Nurse" shambles appealingly, from its slurred riffs to Hagerty and Herrema's not-quite-in-sync vocals. Offsetting the fact that this reunion is slightly miraculous is the fact that after almost two decades away, Royal Trux haven't lost any of their perversity. When most groups would kick the set list of their long-awaited comeback into high gear, this band serves up "Red Tiger," a murky, hypnotic 1992 single that sends the show into a wormhole. A collection of hits performed with polish simply wouldn't be Royal Trux, and though Hagerty and Herrema barely nod to their most accessible songs -- which include Thank You's "Sewers of Mars" -- Platinum Tips + Ice Cream captures the spirit that made their music consistently fascinating as it evolved. The band gives equal time to its warped rock and witchy swirl: "Sometimes" combines the two, while a blazing version of the Veterans of Disorder standout "Waterpark" brings the noise they toned down on their later albums roaring back to the surface and Twin Infinitives' "Ice Cream" closes the album on a thoroughly disorienting note. Throughout the set, Royal Trux remain anti-rock stars with more charisma than stadium-filling acts. Hagerty's guitar playing burns extra-bright on "Deafer Than Blind" and "Platinum Tips." Meanwhile, Herrema's antics are the main attraction on the lone Accelerator track "The Banana Question," where it sounds like she's doing jumping jacks as she barks out the vocals; later, on "Blue Is the Frequency," she savors each word like she's dragging on a cigarette. Platinum Tips + Ice Cream is perfectly imperfect, full of spontaneous, weird, and honest energy that makes it clear why Royal Trux had to continue their reunion beyond these two dates.

blue highlight denotes track pick