Something Fierce/The Hangouts, “Teenage Ruins”/”The Pirate Stomp”

Something Fierce/The Hangouts,

This is almost too easy; it’s like eating my favorite candybar, seriously. I’ve been impressed as hell by local punk kids Something Fierce since I first caught their full-length effort, Come For The Bastards, but the blazing rawk fury of “Teenage Ruins” still catches me off-guard, nonetheless — truthfully, it’s their best damn song, and while I do love the vinyl, I find myself hoping the Fierce trio eventually throws it on their next actual album, as well, just so the rest of the non-turntable-owning universe can listen, too.

The guitars roar and drive like a freight train, Stephen “Babyface” Garcia croons over the top like a more-tuneful Joey Ramone, and classic UK power-pop melodies straight out of the late ’70s/early ’80s lurk just below the ragged edge of the music. Simply put, it’s a perfect anthem for teen rebellion, just like the song’s title implies.

The band’s second track on the 7″, “On Your Own,” combines handclaps, ’77 punk guitars, a limber, Rancid-style bassline, and a fine shoutalong chorus for a slice of retro-style punk/power-pop that’s nearly as good as the first song. Plus, the intro guitars make me think of my favorite Billy Bragg live EP, and that’s never a bad thing.

The side of the record by College Station’s The Hangouts, unfortunately, doesn’t quite match up to their H-town compatriots. And it’s true that I’m a little biased, already knowing and liking the Something Fierce crew, but even still, the songs seem a lot less, well, substantial than the Side A tracks. First there’s “The Pirate Stomp,” which is a sneering, more modern-sounding bit of garage-punk with Kathleen Hanna-esque, screechy, ear-rattling vocals that I think is about pirates and country barbecue (although beyond those elements, I’ve got no idea). Then there’s “Don’t,” which is slower and somewhat easier to listen to but is also more abrasive, but the “na-na-na” vocals just seem to fly by and then the song’s over before it really has a chance to sink in.

Neither song’s bad, by any means, and on their own they’d probably be decent (even if the vocals on “The Pirate Stomp” take a little getting used to). They just can’t hold a candle to the Something Fierce one-two punch. Sorry, y’all — that’s the risk of the split-7″, right there…

[Something Fierce is playing 10/30/07 at Rudyard’s, with Jay Reatard & Wax Museums.]
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Review by . Review posted Friday, August 10th, 2007. Filed under Reviews.

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One Response to “Something Fierce/The Hangouts, “Teenage Ruins”/”The Pirate Stomp””

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » A Sweet Hot Hell: Surviving Summerfest 2011, Day One on January 23rd, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    […] to Summerfest, the more I realized how damn much I missed seeing ‘em. Sadly, I missed hearing “Teenage Ruins” (assuming they did play it), but they made me happy by throwing in somebody-for-everybody punk love […]

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