NEIL MICHAEL HAGERTY Neil Michael Hagerty (Domino)

Formerly of Pussy Galore and Royal Trux, Neil Hagerty now presents for our delectation his first solo album in a fifteen-year career of bottom-feeding from the detritus of American popular culture. Despite the sleeve collage of guitars and effects pedals a la Primal Scream's "Vanishing Point", the dominant impression of "Neil Michael Hagerty" is that of sleazy, diseased electronica, all swaggering beatboxes and hollered vocals, sounds that shimmered briefly in Royal Trux's collage and chaos given a whole album to relax into. Proceedings are at their finest on opening track "Know That", which sounds like a karaoke garage band burning through "Rock The Boat", whilst "Tender Metal" strongly evokes the traditional "I Come And Stand At Every Door". Having printed lyrics to hand for possibly the first time also demonstrates how perceptive a wordsmith Hagerty can be, whether peddling dime-store Nick Cave-isms on the cautionary "I Found A Stranger" or delivering the stern anti-drug lecture (no, really!) of "The Menace".

Nobody who hasn't already got a shelf of Royal Trux plastic is going to be even remotely interested in this album - Hagerty hasn't exactly broken his back to cram this solo venture with radiowave-choking melodies - but taken on those limited terms it's unlikely that any prospective purchaser would be anything less than satisfied with it.

NEIL MICHAEL HAGERTY Plays That Good Old Rock And Roll (Drag City)

And indeed he does. The former Royal Trux man's second solo album finds him pursuing the same random path through ramshackle territory as followed by his old group. "Plays That Good Old Rock And Roll" sounds substantially like The White Stripes attempting to cover "Exile On Main St" after their first ever beers - sleazy, tawdry, falling down rock 'n' roll, stumbling and chaotic. But there's more adrift in the psychedelic electric soup of Hagerty's music - the constant, arrhythmic, clattering percussion that permeates most tracks (somebody is credited with performing on bowed electric gongs, whatever they might be), which harkens back to the "Garcia"-style experimentation that blossomed all over the second half of Royal Trux's "Veterans Of Disorder" album; the disorientating outbreak of a rash of Hagerty' own string arrangements during "Oklahoma Township" and "Some People Are Angry"; the bluegrass-tinged "It Could Happen Again". The tumbling "Rockslide" flirts perilously close to a standard verse-chorus-verse-and-a-melody-to-sing-them-over structure, even. "Plays That Good Old Rock And Roll" almost posits itself as a tacky, low-rent alternative to Dylan's marvellous embodiment of 20th century American popular music, "Love And Theft", in the way it regurgitates many of the component parts that made that good old rock and roll in the first place. But of course Hagerty does so in his own inimitable style: the track listing on the back cover is woefully out of sync with the album's running order, and I managed to play it all the way through without noticing, which probably says something about the album's lack of killer, stadium-filling choruses and memorable tunes. Nobody who isn't already a Royal Trux devotee is going to be even remotely interested in this album - which fairly accurately represents the sound of rock and roll collapsed in a heap on the floor - but those who are and are will be delighted to find that it does exactly what it says on the tin.

Royal Trux

Weird War