Always Randy's Protect Your Nuts is exactly the kind of record we have Your Asked For It to review. Truthfully, there's little chance I'd pop in an album with a cover featuring three semi-mulleted old dudes wielding baseball bats and a guitar in front of a background of peanut shells if it weren't my policy to do it once a week, even with Late of The Pier's Fantasy Black Channel, (which Michael Lopez raves about in a review for next week's paper) sitting here unopened.
Always Randy sounds pretty much exactly what you think they'd sound like after looking at the above image: cornball classic rockers with juvenile lyrics and a passion for self-indulgent guitar solos. I have no evidence to support this, but I imagine them as three guys from a middle-class Mesa neighborhood who took time off from fixing up an '82 Camaro to record some covers and a few original songs they'd be fuckin' 'roun' on.
This all sounds pretty snotty - maybe even a little mean-spirited - and I regret that, but I gotta call 'em like I see 'em.
The guys (singer/guitarist Manny Moonz, drummer Chuck Saffell, bassist Den E. King) are all competent players, and Moonz has a garage rock voice that is, in his best moments, eerily similar to Sammy James Jr. of The Mooney Suzuki. Seriously, listen to "Laundromat" and tell me I'm wrong.
The problems, though, quickly overcome these few bright spots. First, there's the choice of covers. Their country-fried take of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" is offensive if only for the way Moonz pronounces puuuursonal. The standard "Suzie Q" is sped up, features fuzzed out vocals and gets ridiculous bits of '60s spy music thrown in to beginning. Their take on Dan Hill's 1977 ballad "Sometimes When We Touch" reminds me of one of those Jack Black joke covers that trades overly-intense intimacy for laughs.
Then, there's the originals. The best, "Heartless," is also the worst. Starting out punky, it moves in to a mid-tempo rocker about 1:30 in. Pleasant enough. Sadly, this is about where the first iteration of the phrase that defines this album for me comes in. "Make love with your hand," Moonz suggests several times. "It's the only true friend you've got that'll understand."
As if that isn't enough, toward the end he starts saying "Yes! Yes!" over and over between the repetitions of "Make love with your hand."
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The next song, "Bloody Show" is the next most offensively bad track on the CD, with Mooz adopting a hint of a British accent as he says "This is your bloody show, it's nobody else's, so, just remember I'm the one that told you so."
Yes, he rhymed "so" with "so."
Anyway, I hate to be so hard on these guys - especially given their inclination toward swinging baseball bats - but there's simply no way around the fact that Protect Your Nuts is a ridiculously awful album. But, shit, I knew that when I looked at the cover. --Martin Cizmar