Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Hickoids - Kicking It With the Twits

The Hickoids
Kicking It With the Twits

It’s a time-honored tradition in the course of one’s rock star life to release the inevitable covers record, usually as a stop-gap whilst furiously writing songs. Usually it’s a LP of an artist’s influences, giving some insight in the headliner’s creative genesis and process. Of course, Austin’s cowpunk comedians the Hickoids are too damn ornery to do things the same way everybody else does it. Instead of being a nod to the originators of the band’s sneering roots rock sound, Kicking It With the Twits crosses the pond to rope in some British classics, mostly from the 70s, with a special emphasis on the glam rock that never quite translated in the colonies. Some of the tunes comes from fairly obvious sources – rough ‘n’ ready versions of Slade’s Gudbuy T’ Jane, the Damned’s Neat Neat Neat and the Rolling StonesHave You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadows? won’t come as a shock to anyone who’s ever spun a Hickoids LP before. (Indeed, the gleefully obnoxious Slade are as much the band’s spiritual ancestors as any drunk hillbilly.) But the band also steals a few cars, joyriding through a great countrified take on Elton John’s massive hit mediocrity Bennie & the Jets (with Scott Lutz’s pedal steel taking the piano part), a sleazy, slow snarl through the Move’s Brontosaurus and a crazed but oddly faithful rip through Brian Eno’s Needles in the Camel’s Eye. Kudos also to the band’s choice of Whizz Kidd, an excellent but obcure cut from the catalog of the great but doomed Mott the Hoople. Add a gritty Pictures of Lily (from the catalog of the Who) and you’ve got a well-rounded portrait of U.K. rock & roll obsession, filtered through the lens of a leering Central Texas cowpunk mob. Doesn’t the sound of a pint and a tallboy clinking together just take you away?

- Michael Toland

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