Spice up your life with The Square Tugs
Monster Hits – Square Tugs (self released)
If variety is the spice of life, Brisbane’s Square Tugs are the celebrity chefs of Australian punk rock. The trio’s debut album “Monster Hits” is a curry with enough popping flavours in it to set off your tongue, and lyrics to get your brain into gear at the same time.
They’re not of pensionable age but they’re not spring chickens either, so the odds are short that a glimpse into the Square Tugs’ record collections would throw up some interesting and familiar selections.
Did you know Square Tugs originally formed as a Circle Jerks tribute band?
“Monster Hits” bounces from a Ramonesesque blitzkrieg bop to early Green Day crankage, with a large dose of The Damned thrown in for good measure. “Monster Hits” is a bit of a monster mash at times but never takes itself too seriously.
Lead track “I Wanna Be The Minority” is pure pop-punk and it’s a keeper. “I Don’t Like It” is a tirade against all the expected targets with a hardcore edge; “Drag Queen Dad” liberally cops Dee Dee Ramone (and that ain’t a bad thing) while “Police State” enthusiastically puts the boot into Brisbane’s constabulary, circa 1984, in the finest hardcore traditions.
The fuckers can write. Being veterans, though, you’d think they’d know better than to put so many lyrics, credits and words onto a CD inner sleeve. It serves to remind you that it’s easier to read the back of an LP and that “Monster Hits” comes in vinyl). It also reinforces the point that there’s depth to these 16 tunes.
“Apple Of Your Eye” employs some tasteful piano before launching into a tuneful high-energy romp with a touch of “Raw Power” to it. The Crusaders got to the song title “Fat, Drunk, Stupid” first but that’s nothing against Square Tugs. Some subjects are timeless.
It’s said people should write about things they know. If so, “Yowie Hunt”, “Hand Explosion” (there's a "tug" joke in there) and “Frankenhooker” are revelatory as well as self-explanatory in their subject matter.
Great to hear the most lame of all social platforms get a going over on “Tik Tok Motherfucker”. It’s one of the best songs here. Can Twitter be next?
The lyric sheet comes in handy for a word salad like “How Many Times”. Props to drummer Randy Tug for driving that one home because no horses are spared. Guitarist Davey Tug has the pipes to carry the songs and bassist Paulie Tug does his job as people with four strings are want to do.
All the variety gets dizzying and the fun’s all over in 28 minutes but that’s what repeat buttons are for.