SONS OF HERCULES, THE: A Different Kind of Ugly: CD

…went to go see TSOH during the Razorcake Drunken Invasion of SXSW 2004, only to find that, owing to a member apparently vomiting blood that morning, they had been replaced by the Bloody Tears ((which, of course, begs the question of why they weren’t replaced with the Bloody Pukes)). This September i was in Austin for business, and found out that The Sons were playing at the Continental on

Congress Ave.Since my hotel was on the corner of 7th & Congress, i figured i’d just bop down the street for a few blocks and check ‘em out, so i took a right on Congress and walked down to the Capitol, walked through the Capitol ((nice Capitol)), came out the other side, and kept walking until i hit the University of Texas campus. No Continental. Calling my lifeline—Cheap Trixie of the Texas Rollergirls—i was informed that, yes, i had walked in the completely wrong direction…so i walked the mile-and-a-half back thru the Capitol and to the hotel, then walked about two more miles in the opposite direction to the show, then walked the two miles back to the hotel afterwards. All in all, i’d estimate i walked like seven miles and waited five years to see this goddamn band, so i got some sweat equity in the product—thus, when i say that i don’t ever see this band scoring higher than a B+ on any given rock-rock-rock-rock-rock’n’roll report card, i hope that’s not viewed as Texas Garage Punk Heresy ((plus i never really see them getting less than a C- on the low end, so it all kinda averages out in the end, maybe)). I mean, i own a bunch of TSOH records, and i can’t say as i flat-out adore any of them—this one included—but i can’t say as there are any i don’t like, either. They’ve got a good base goin’—the principal forces behind the band are a fraction of a generation older than myself, and you can tell that they’re from that half-decade or so that holds Iggy and Bowie and Blue Oyster Cult in the same sacramental regard as people my age hold the Ramones and Sex Pistols and Clash ((singer Frank Pugliese’s old band The Vamps once opened for the Pistols, or so they tell me))—but the problem as i see it as to why this never band has never gone over the top with me is that they just don’t write particularly interesting songs. The foundation is there, but i’ve never really witnessed anything spectacular being done with it, song-wise. Contrast this with some vaguely peerish band like, say, The Mullens—those guys could knock out catchy tunes every so often in a way i don’t see TSOH ever pulling off, which is probably why their cover of “(I’m) Misunderstood” by the Saints was the highlight of the show i walked seven miles to see ((then again, i like the Saints and i love parentheses, so perhaps the deck was stacked against ‘em from the get-go)). Same with the album: The originals are decent; the covers ((Saints, Lazy Cowgirls)) stand out. To my brief glee, i thought i was proven wrong by the album closing “Easy Action”—a grippy rocker so rousing i that it made me wish i was sitting around my living room all day, smoking pot and listening to Humpers CD—until i looked at the liner notes and found out that the song was originally done by Frank Pugliese’s 80’s band, the Mystery Dates. Thus, the top three songs on this disc are all covers, which seems to rudely underscore my original theory. That said, i’d walk another seven miles to see ‘em, but this time i expect to see those bats flying out en masse from under the bridge by the river. That’s only fair. BEST SONG: Well, we’ll say “Easy Action” ‘cause i’m not familiar with that Mystery Dates record. BEST SONG TITLE: “Bad Blood” if you’re Neil Sedaka. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Casino el Camino, an Austin beer and burger jernt owned by TSOH’s former bassist, is considered the birthplace of the modern day roller derby revival.  –norb (Sasutex)