Wednesday, September 23, 2015


HWY 61 Records

HUGELarge is one guitarist/vocalist and one drummer. That's a set up that has been put to tape before and chances are that it will be done plenty of times after this. But, that's where we're at with this self-titled release from the pair of guitarist/vocalist Robert Malta (Pawpawblowtorch…) and drummer Matt Norelli (American Music Club…). Admittedly I'm all but burned out on these kinds of garage rock recordings* and truth be told I dragged my feet as far as getting to this one was concerned. While I'm not going to say that I was wrong when it came to my preconceived opinions of two-piece bands I will acknowledge the positive aspect of this CD. It might just be stripped down rock n' roll, but at least this is primarily a cover's project.  As I like cover songs and I really love cover albums I went ahead and pulled out my red sharpie and awarded this album bonus points for that decision. The fact that "HUGELarge" gathers up classic songs from the sixties and the seventies was not lost on me so I even went and stuck a big shiny happy face sticker on the collection! After all the sixties and the seventies did give us some of the greatest rock and roll of all time!  Right? Right!!!! As for the who, what and where of the cover tracks? Well, I'll mention some highlights and then I'll let all of you take it from there. It's actually the last track on this collection, but I really liked this band's cover of  "96 Tears". I also appreciated HUGELarge's covers of  "A Little Bit Of Soap", "Codeine", "Born To lose", "Motivator", "Poison Ivy", and "No Fun".  Along with "Born To Love" (Johnny Thunders!) and "Codeine" there is also the choice gem that is "Have Love Will Travel". I like what HUGELarge does with this song by The Sonics as well as what they do with the previously mentioned ones. All told there are 15 cover songs here with the duo's lone original number, "D.O.G." thrown  for good measure. For what this is (cover songs occasionally re-worked and/or re-imagined) it's not bad. That doesn't mean that it is a must- buy or anything.  More than anything it just is what it is and in that regard it does a decent enough job. Even if this all sounds harsh it isn't meant to be taken that way. If you are into the whole guitar and drums only scene then have at this! Chances are you'll really like it. Especially as there is a lot of talent behind HUGELarge. No one can deny that. In the end though it's simply a matter of personal taste. And for me I've heard far too many bands doing this in the past 30 something years and frankly-speaking I need some bass in my rock and roll! But again, that's just me. Maybe you're different? 

*Way back in the day (and we're talking late eighties/early nineties here) I remember seeing bands with no bass players. Whether it was because they couldn't find a decent one or it was by choice I just don't know, but they were there all the same. For the life of me I can't remember the group's name (they were local and never put anything to tape), but one three-piece band had a singer, one guitarist and a drummer. They were like a poor man's Dinosaur Jr. only without that level of talent and/or skill. It was all very sloppy and drenched in feedback, but it was stripped down rock and roll all the same. Over the years I heard other bands without a bass player so when the "sound" eventually came into style I wasn't overly surprised. For every good band I heard (The White Stripes and Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival come to mind) there were 4 or 5 ones that sounded hollow/empty. They thing to remember is that when you go into things without a four-string member of your band then you better be able to write catchy and highly memorable music. Otherwise all people will remember about your band and your music is how boring it was. 

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