This newbie San Antonio trio has used their debut album to up the crunchy riffs and down most other inclinations beyond getting the six pack to the house party. Girls are desired, rejections are quickly forgotten, money is blown on quick good times and ‘50s sock hop melodies are the stuff of hangover cures. Head-bobbers like Teenager have the Rich Hands fitting on Burger Records like a kid glove, but luckily they take those gloves off sometimes. Speedier tempos and scrunchy, not always reverbed guitars shove them a bit out of the increasingly cutesy end of Burger. Home, smack dab in the middle of the album, brings it all together, and its image of the singer waiting at home, probably on a dilapidated porch couch, pining his gal to come back is an apt image.
Sometimes, a chintzy, faux Hammond organ sound peaks out from behind singer Cody Mauser’s pinched drawl (All Over Me, No Harm Blues), making some of this sound like a knee-skinned kid cousin playing around Tom Petty’s backyard during a BBQ, not unlike other fellow southern power poppers, Gentleman Jesse. Rich Hands have expressed a love for Kiss, and their riffs are often just as bubbledumb sticky, like on Guy Like Me. The songs pedal forward right around 5th or 6th gear, drums scraping the pavement only occasionally on its trip down to the ice cream shop as Mauser doles out axioms like “Can’t get enough, all shook up.”
So not only are Rich Hands not reinventing the wheel here, they might think about stopping to check the air in the tires. Could they stand to shake up the script a bit, make the foam come flying out of the soda can, as it were? Sure, but hey, it’s a debut, and a good one too. And if there’s one thing a solid, young r’n’r band knows it’s do what you do right now and get it down on wax, or cassette tape, or cylinder, or whatever other arcane format Burger will dig up next. (Hey, sheet music industry, there’s hope yet!) Oh wait, the very last tune, I Get By—they do twist things a bit, with the guitars suddenly brighter, the bass dancing around more, and a bigger swing in the rhythm. So ride that back brake kids, the hill’s going to get steeper.