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RTX

As a member of the now-defunct Royal Trux, Jennifer Herrema spent the '90s making a name for herself as the growl-and-grunt frontwoman of a band that aloofly eschewed pigeonhole status. While their foundation was Stonesian boogie, the trajectories were all over the place. Fittingly, she once complained that the audience at a Lollapalooza side stage shouted "Axl Rose!" due to her appearance, rather than listening to the music.

It's ironic, then, that two albums into her (more or less) solo career, Herrema has fully embraced the ethos and sound of '80s hair metal, in a seemingly nonironic fashion.

After the anomalous title track that kicks off the album in a quiet manner, with Herrema, um, singing over flute and subdued guitar, the remaining nine tracks are a full-on rock 'n' roll affront. Tracks like "Balls to Pass" and "Black Bananas" sound like something you might have heard at a high school kegger in the desert--the only difference being Herrema's vocals, which are indecipherable underneath copious layers of effects.

Others, such as "Rat Will Kill" and Fang (!) cover "Money Will Roll Right In," might remind Trux fans of songs like "Waterpark," for their straight-ahead approach.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, of course, but whereas Royal Trux continuously experimented and never sounded like anybody else, Herrema and RTX seem perfectly comfortable with a tried-and-true approach. Unfortunately, Trux fans will likely see this as too cheeky, and metalheads will most likely see RTX as too weird.

More by Brian Mock

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