Rhythm & Views

Neil Hagerty

For the last 14-odd years, Neil Hagerty has honed his guitar chops as one half of the recently defunct Royal Trux nucleus, perhaps one of the most misunderstood and underrated rock and roll bands in the last 20 years. Now, with the Trux and longtime partner in life and rock, Jennifer Herrema, seemingly behind him, comes Hagerty's first solo record. Not only does it reveal his middle name, but, more importantly, what really goes on in that head of his sans Herrema's input or a backing band.

On almost all Royal Trux releases, Hagerty delved into a variety of instruments besides guitar. NMH showcases this. While his guitar playing is on par with the rest of his work (and on a level above most players out there), the rest of the music (drum machines, keyboards, the occasional tin whistle and snake charmer, and possibly others), comes off fairly simple and repetitive.

Not that this necessarily works against him; but, imagine a guitar god (any guitar god will do) taking acid and jamming with a couple of amateur geeks bent on playing nerdy three-note new wave gospel-sounding keyboard lines over drum machines. Add Hagerty's vocals, which range from his usual nasal snarl to Prince-styled falsetto, and you've got it.

Hardcore Trux fans will want to check this out, if only for mere curiosity. For everyone else, borrow it from your friendly neighborhood Royal Trux freaks after they've put their copy of Sweet Sixteen back on the hi-fi where it belongs.