11.21.2008

RTX: Western Xterminator

Some album covers are so awesome that you just have to listen to the music. I'd never heard of RTX, but Western Xterminator has a cover that is one part high school notebook cover, one part '70s hard rock, and one part drug-induced insanity. I figured I had a 50/50 chance of getting either some crazy hard rock or some crazy underground hip-hop.

Music: 1 EPFL library cards out of a possible 5
This is the second-worst album I've checked out in the 18 months I've been reviewing CDs from the EPFL. (This is the worst.)

The opening of the album is deceptive. "Western Xterminator" is a flute-driven song that is low-key and trippy and incredibly promising. Yeah, the album would've gotten boring if everything else had followed in that style, but it would've been better than what's here. Imagine a cross between the most clichéd Heart song and the most clichéd AC/DC song, and you have Western Xterminator. The title track and "Wo-Wo Din" are the only tracks that have an even remotely original sound. The rest of it makes the first few Foreigner albums look like creative masterpieces.

The production sounds like a cheap demo recorded in the studio that some dude's brother's pot dealer built in his garage. It would be forgivable if the production hid something great, but this sounds like the engineer tried to polish a turd with a poopcloth.

And yes, I get the fact that this is, like, totally ironic, man. The thing is, I just don't care. Irony or not, it's rotten.

Packaging: 3.5 EPFL library cards out of a possible 5
The album cover totally sucked me in. Really, go take a look at it. Maybe it's just nostalgia for my old notebook covers and hand-drawn band fliers, but there's a whole lot of good imagery on this cover. It's unique and interesting, yet it looks completely DIY. The band photo on the inside is unoriginal but not terrible. The font in the booklet is nearly illegible. That might be OK if it was crazy, hand-drawn text, but this is just a stupid font that someone thought looked cool. Guess what? You were wrong.

Listen if you like: Bad songwriting, bad performances, and bad production.

If it were food, it'd be: Does anyone remember the 29-cent Hamburger Stand, an '80s cheap-ass burger joint that fell somewhere between McDonald's and cardboard? Yeah, that's pretty much Western Xterminator.

(I wrote this review before I read anything online about RTX. In trying to read the stupid, illegible font on the tray card and the jacket, I figured out that RTX is somehow related to the wildly overrated Chicago band Royal Trux. This album reminds me of why I thought all the junkie hipster bands that rose to fame in the '90s were complete asshats. Obviously, being a musical asshat has survived well into the first decade of the '00s.)

2 comments:

disengagementinc said...

Actually there are people like me who think that Royal Trux were one of the greatest rock bands ever. Albums like 'Sweet Sixteen' and 'Thank you' are forgotten classics. RTX may not be up that level, but much of what Neil Hagerty has done in The Howling Hex is just as great- like 'All-night fox.
You, sir, are the asshat.

taotechuck said...

Your coupling of "sir" and "asshat" made me very happy. You are proof that manners and etiquette are alive and well.

With that said, you are stating the obvious. To paraphrase Descartes: I write record reviews, therefore I am an asshat.