The Hextalls - Rock You to Sleep (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Hextalls

Rock You to Sleep (2012)


In "Welcome to the Record II: Electric Boogaloo," Canadian jokesters the Hextalls proclaim over a mid-tempo piano-based crawl that "We've gotten old and now we're slowing down." Ten seconds later the track explodes into one of the group's standard pop-punk chugs, but there is a feeling of maturation throughout the group's latest full-length Rock You to Sleep, at least musically. The lyrics are still as stupid as ever (Kenny Rogers is namedropped all over the place for some reason), but hooks are sharper and more deliberate, and the band plays tighter than needed.

Fun is the name of the game here, as has always been the band's motif. Every song on Rock You to Sleep features humorous lyrics and catchy singalongs. The Copyrights-esque "Justine" recounts road stories over some infectious "Oo-ooh's", and "I Just Want to Sleep in the Treehouse" laments growing older and not living up to your parents' expectations. "Holy Fuck, I'm a Dad!", as the title implies, deals with joys and perils that come along with becoming a parent oneself. That's about as deep as things get. "My Name is Kenny Rogers" paints the singer/songwriter as a hard-partying Jackass cast member. I don't know much about the man, but the song makes him sound like he'd be a blast to hang out with.

"Grant Lawrence, King of the Forest" features some power pop keys reminiscent of the Leftovers' Eager To Please in its verses and adds a little variety to the group's pop-punk attack before the gang vocal-laden chorus consisting of little more than the song's title repeated over and over again takes over. "I Don't Want to Go Down to the Basement, Either" is a catchy little diddy and a mid-album highlight. While the Ramones and Teenage Bottlerocket didn't want to go down to the basement for fear of what might be down there, possible a monster, the Hextalls don't want to go down there because someone took a dump and it smells absolutely inhuman.

Through nothing more than playing together for a while, the Hextalls have grown better at what they do without changing their attack all that much, if at all. They refuse to grow up, and there's something endearing about that. Not everyone has to be Fucked Up, writing 80-minutes rock operas. Rock You to Sleep is loud, fast, short, stupid and catchy as hell. Fans of the group wouldn't want anything more.