Keen-eyed Simpsons obsessives will of course already know that “Truckasauras’ refers to the huge robotic dinosaur made out of monster trucks that Homer begs Marge to let him see at the Springfield demolition derby. It’s certainly a moniker that suits these four Seattle 8-bit warriors’ aesthetic – apparently their live shows feature fishing vests, trucker hats emblazoned with American eagle symbols and American flags for capes – all performed in front of a video backdrop that takes in footage of monster truck rallies, explosions and deliberately homoerotic WWF footage. Released through Seattle-based label Fourth City as a limited edition booklet with mp3s, this debut album Tea Parties, Guns and Valor introduces Truckasauras’ chipcore-hewn sound, one that seems equally inspired by early eighties videogames as much as classic block party hiphop / electro. Opening track “Introcut’s certainly provides an apt introduction to the aesthetic that’s at work here, with retro-gamer “Mario in distress’-style panicked 8-bit tones giving way to sampled background redneck phone chatter and doomy analogue bass chords, shortly before turntablist orbits and glittering 808 handclaps lock in, taking things down into arcade game hiphop.
From there, the instrumental palette adheres fairly closely to these aforementioned elements, with “Ain’ No Danbo (When He’ Gone)’ offering a slide down into bleeping robotic electro that’s equal parts Anthony Rother and Cybotron, and if there’ one criticism to be made here, it’s that the repeated use of the same predominant elements does prove to be slightly repetitious over an entire album’ listening. Indeed, many of those most memorable moments here arrive when Truckasauras change up the stylistic pace, as on the excellent ragga-dancehall centred “Hold On’ featuring DJ Collage, and the seven additional remixes provided here by Collage, Copy, Basic and Ghostbait certainly manage to provide some additional variety, with all the respective reworkings dragging the original tracks into interesting new contexts. Worth checking out.