Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thee Hugs-Drug Use & Alcohol Abuse LP (2013)

Drums rarely set the tone for a band, at least in rock. Brisbane's Thee Hugs is an exception to that rule: this band's rhythm section careens, thunders, and clunks through this LP like a truck driver on crank. These ten songs manage to walk a thin line between Dick Dale surfrockisms and the more musically-adept end of  first-wave L.A. punk (like dis crew).

The debut single, "She's My Girl," spurts jangled surf guitar before the drums set the pace: this is rave-up garage played right, by guys who prolly were at home playing along to Sham the Sham records while the rest of us home, smoking weed. Again, though, the drums set the tone: mid-way through, they jerk the song to a halt and it closes on a crooning note. Helps that the singer ain't half-bad at sounding like a more frenetic, less controlled Jeffrey Lee. The guitar edges out the competition on "Sarsaparilla Shoes," putting in a memorable performance. My faverave track here though might be "Nazi Shooter," which is so charmingly juvenile in its faux-swagger that Legs McNeil himself couldn't'a done a better job. Holler-shouted vocals, needle-thin guitar notes, and rumble-in-the-jungle bangclang, although the rock-out-with-yr-cock-out bassline of "How Good Looking" is in a league of its own. Live it up.

In short, Thee Hugs are trafficking in an extremely formulaic and formalized genre, and manage to make it their own. That's no mean feat, given that most of the musicians and bands they reference here are at least thirty years old, if not going on fifty.

Get into it, and then buy the LP, HERE!

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