Busted Knuckles and Heartbreak (TKO)
by Scott Hefflon
Love that gargling-glass vocal, especially when used in rock, not punk. When it’s used in rock, it’s Nashville Pussy, when it’s used in punk, it’s Rancid (or any gruff’n’tuff streetpunk band — take yer pick, it’s the new rage that’s clogging the bins with a handful of greats and a LOT of knock-offs). While both the Clash and AC/DC are namedropped in the bio (what’s with the Rush opening to “Thin White Line”?), there’s a lot more to grab a hold of than the obvious (and over-referenced). Opening with “Truth Hurts,” Sixer does the jumpy thing Green Day damn near patented, and Randy did so well recently (the latter are on G-7, and if you haven’t been infected by this almost criminally catchy band, yer really missing out), but then turn it into the pub shoutalong thing that gets arms thrown around necks and fists thrown in faces. From there, they kinda falter for a few songs in that chugga-chugga mid-tempo limbo, but have the saving grace of strong lead vocals and group choruses. Then comes the magic of “Sugar Water,” a kinda start/stop combination of ideas/songs that defines what it’s all about. Rock as gospel, dig? “Can’t seem to find my way home,” and we’re talkin’ in the spiritual sense here — this’d border on cheese if not done with such heart, ya know? They should distill the sucker down from its ungainly six minute form and get a bonafide rock of ages anthem out of it. It’s that good. I listened to it five times in a row just now, and I know I’ll be dropping this on mixed tapes for some time to come.