Pink Stuff, a collaboration with Ariel Pink, is the latest cherry-on-top for Royal Truxers.
If you’re a Royal Trux fan, chances are you bought a ticket to see them perform this year, hot on the heels of the release of White Stuff, their first album in 19 years. Chances are you were also disappointed to learn that their North American tour was postponed and subsequently canceled earlier this year. Needless to say, a straightforward reunion was unlikely given the shambolic nature of the Royal Trux outfit. But tour or not, between reissues, the live album Platinum Tips + Ice Cream and their excellent reunion album, the group has provided more than a few treats to its eager audience in the past couple years. Pink Stuff, a collaboration with Ariel Pink, is the latest cherry-on-top for Royal Truxers.
The cheekily-named four-song EP consists of five Ariel Pink remixes from White Stuff. At first, the pairing might seem strange—though Royal Trux’s music has always had its share of weird and wacky elements, it is just as true that the group has worn its classic/garage rock influences on its sleeve, whereas Pink has been more overt in terms of channeling his own eclectic and esoteric inspirations. The question, then, is: Are the remixes any good?
The answer is…mostly. The EP starts off strong with Pink’s version of “Suburban Junky Lady.” Whereas the album version was a shoegazey slow-burner with squealing guitar, the remix is breathy and echofied, with a lethargic beat and humming synths that conjure an ‘80s prom on acid. “Year of the Dog” is less successful, partly because it hews relatively close to the source material, a chugging, uninspired tune that reminds one of Andrew W.K. (Pink’s remix at least has the benefit of being shorter). Things pick up on the rap-inspired “Get Used to It,” which Pink heightens rather than remixes, upping its chaotic elements and adding more color.
The EP’s standout is the rendition of the album’s title track, “White Stuff.” Pink tones down the Replacements-esque character of the original and instead Eno-fies the track, bringing the playful psychedelia of his own music to Royal Trux’s more straightforward approach. The closer “Whopper Dave” sees Pink taking the already fuzzy, noisy original and embellishing it further, making it feel even more out of sync and off-kilter.
Overall, this EP is hardly an essential entry into the discography of either artist, but it is a surprising and entertaining remix collaboration (a phrase one rarely has reason to write). Fans of both will learn something new. And in the meantime, there’s always that tour to look forward to, whenever it might happen.