Black Bananas, Electric Brick Wall

Zach Kelly

By Zach Kelly

on 06.24.14 in Reviews

Trash-rock lifer Jennifer Herrema has recorded under many different guises, but the mission statement has always been the same: Keep it sleazy. From her early days as half of ’90s lo-fi blues contortionists Royal Trux, to hair-band revisionist Trux offshoot RTX, which morphed into (or was renamed, more or less) Black Bananas, reinvention only seemed moniker-deep. With Black Bananas, Herrema has finally strayed far outside her comfort zone. Though the band’s psych-damaged 2012 debut Rad Times Xpress IV felt a little too messy, it wasn’t afraid to toy with convention. And now with the fluorescent-lit slime-drenched follow-up Electric Brick Wall, Herrema has doubled-down on Rad Times‘ “anything goes” spirit with terrific hooks, applying the Technicolor aesthetics of chillwave to road-rashed biker gang rock.

The trash-rock lifer finally strays far outside her comfort zone

With its tacky drum machines, guitars compressed beyond recognition, and Herrema’s garbled, frequently AutoTuned vocals, Electric Brick Wall manages to be both awkward and flat-out funky. “Physical Emotions” and “Give It to Me” evoke Funkadelic, while “Creepin’ the Line” sounds like an Usher single being cranked through a rusty meat grinder. There’s plenty of material here that will sound more familiar to Tru fans, like “Ride the Chump,” which feels perfectly tailored for pre-gaming the Crüe show in the arena parking lot. The scum-caked dance jams, however, are the real keepers here, as sickly sweet as an umbrella-studded pineapple full of Mai Tai in the shittiest dive bar imaginable.