The Austin Chronicle

Phases and Stages

Record Review

Reviewed by Greg Beets, April 26, 2002, Music

The Sons of Hercules

Right Now (Suprema) For their fourth full-length, this veteran Austin-by-way-of-San Antonio quintet continues to mine the rich legacy of garage punk from the Stooges to the Saints despite label and personnel changes. As usual, the Sons of Hercules deliver painfully solid, hook-laden songs that capture the sloppy euphoria of their less experienced brothers in arms. Vocalist Frank Pugliese has been performing since the mid-Seventies, and in the intervening decades, his slurred, chairman-of-the-bored delivery has only become more petulant. The tightly-wound band is further aided by underlying hints of tambourine, piano, and such to fill in producer Mike Mariconda's clean-but-angry mix. "Hell to Pay" is a road-raging spin around hairpin curves in the high desert, while "Nowhere to Go" is a glass-raising anthem of desolation that simultaneously channels all the best elements of both the Rolling Stones and the New York Dolls. "Hard Headed Woman" and "What's Done Is Done" are two more garage-shakers that could've easily slid onto the Nuggets box set irrespective of their 21st-century pedigree. And it wouldn't be a Sons of Hercules album without a couple of tasteful obscure covers; here, it's the Jumpers' "I Wanna Know" and "Reason to Live," originally by Daddy's Drunk. Although you've heard this all before, the Sons are one of those proven commodities that keeps you coming back for more.

*** .5

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