Royal Trux
Hand of Glory CD - Drag City

Last year my friend helped his middle-aged neighbor move out of her house and when it came to emptying the kitchen, a large bag of pot was discovered in the back of the freezer. Since the lady in question hadn’t smoked since the Eighties, the pot dated back two decades. This analogy seems to be the perfect way to brief someone on the story behind the final Royal Trux album. Originally conceived and recorded in 1989, Hand of Glory was intended to be Neil and Jennifer’s second ever album. But, as the story goes, the album was lost, recently recovered and released, giving the Royal Trux saga one final fantastic twist. The album draws some similarities to the unstructured junk-punk collages of Twin Infinitives (their official second release) and the first track, “Domo Des Burros,” even bears a striking likeness to “Ape Oven.” Vocals on the track, sung mostly by Neil, span the song’s entire nineteen-plus minutes, but are barely comprehendible due to the heavy emphasis on drum syncopation. The last five tracks (labeled as 2A-2E) are shorter sound collages that dwell more on instrumental chaos than strict song structure. So, back to that bag of pot metaphor: I’m sure it was great to get high on the historical bag, but sometimes freshness is more important. Hand of Glory is an interesting way to end the saga, to say the least. It’s not their most accessible album or their best, but its intrigue is worth the listening price. Embrace the mystery, listen to the history. (Nolan Gawron)



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