Review Summary: The Lord made love to Satan and they wallowed in their ugliness.
There’s something immensely likable about Stick Men With Ray Guns, despite the fact that their most acclaimed record gives me the mental image of big musky Texans assaulting a captive crowd with a brand of cacophonous tomfoolery that they call music. There’s a weird charisma and swagger to their brand of noise punk that’s undeniable. Even though they probably look, sound, and smell like shit, they carry themselves like the fucking Rolling Stones. When vocalist Bobby Soxx proclaims that he knows all the lyrics to every song ever written on “What Am I",” I just can’t help but believe him. After all, what do these hillbillies have to prove" Their sound has the brute power to knock down a skyscraper and enough toxins to poison a small country, why even bother attempting to water that down for a mass audience"
Much like Kilslug, the Butthole Surfers or the Homopolice, there are elements of early punk and blues rock under the impenetrable layers of noise (check the sweet grooves on “Satan Baby” and “Have I Got a God for You! (Reprise)”) but there’s something different about these guys. It’s in that attitude, I think, that raw ethos of sloppy punks having the best time they can while being as big of a nuisance as possible. In a way, it's less satirical and more earnest than the parody-based nature of the Surfers and a hell of a lot less serious than the harsh noise inspired likes of Drunkdriver and the Homopolice. That likability might also lie in the live setting of most of these songs (even the few studio tracks have the same approach as a live show). It’s easier to get a lighter vibe from a song like “Kill the Innocent” when it's not too far separated from intentionally goofy stage banter and the whistles of adoring freaks.
Tracks like “Nazi Cowboys (On Welfare),” “Buttfuckers (Try to Ruin My Life),” and “Pee Pee in the Disco Mama” are, of course, a lot less serious than the repulsive/violent/disheartening ideas proposed elsewhere, namely “Grave City” and the previously mentioned “Kill the Innocent.” This juxtaposition keeps the record filthy and dangerous, while not losing the humanity of it all. That joining of humor and evil, when mixed with the purposefully cartoonish backwoods image, reminds me a lot of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
’s depiction of the Sawyer family more than any contemporary noise rock fiends. Think about it like this: the shrill, goofy screams of Soxx sound a bit like the inane diatribes and tauntings of Choptop and Drayton "The Cook" Sawyer, the murky bass tone is comparable to the disgusting, gore-caked caverns of the Sawyer hideout, and the ear-piercingly distorted guitar hits your ears like the roaring chainsaw of Leatherface.
Clocking in at 76 minutes, there’s a lot to Some People Deserve to Suffer
, with each of the 23 songs occupying a different point on the genre spectrum between cowpunk and noise rock. That’s also in addition to a constant variation in sound quality, depending what show the songs were recorded at. If you look at it from a traditional angle, the raw absurdity of it is a lot to take in. Here you have some of the least sensical music played with the ferocious unpredictability of G.G. Allin (with about 4 times the talent and 0% of the feces consumption), yet it’s also some of the most human and, dare I say, enjoyable music in the genre. It brings the liveliness and intimacy of a house show into your house
, just on these Texans’ terms.