Grabass Charlestons - The Greatest Story Ever Hula'd (Cover Artwork)

Grabass Charlestons

The Greatest Story Ever Hula'd (2003)

No Idea

The Grabass Charlestons have got to be one of the most overlooked bands in punk rock today. Then again, doesn't it seem like all the great bands are overlooked? Your average scenester might have heard the name Dillinger Four but he owns everything on the Drive-Thru catalog. Anyways, the Grabass Charlestons are a great band and don't get the credit they deserve. Hopefully things change with their recent release, Ask Mark Twain. Until then, I guess I'll just have to write about why everyone should go out and buy The Greatest Story Ever Hula'd

The album starts out with a song called "Beer Exile," which may sound kind of juvenile but actually has some of the most relatable lyrics I've heard in awhile: "Caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thought what would dear old mama think," "I lost my bowels and I got the itch, I got a needle that's pointed at my vein. Tell my friends to keep the dream alive cause after this I'm going into hiding," and "It seems we've fucked up high and low. We've got the world crammed up our nose, we got chowder toes. It's been months with no repose" are just some of the lyrical gems this opening number has to offer. Team that with the simplistic pop-punk intro and bridge, the rollicking speed, and the gruff, energized vocals and it's almost too good.

But the fun doesn't stop there as the Charlestons have another 12 songs just waiting to be unleashed. Almost every track on this album is a keeper. A few of them aren't anything to write home about, but then again, I wonder if that's only because most of them are so good that these few seem less only by comparison. Surprisingly, the track that I skip over the most (and it's almost every time) isn't even one of their songs. It's a Tom Waits cover. Covers are sometimes, sadly, the best tracks a band has to offer, which really only proves how little many bands do have to offer. Anyways, the Grabass Charlestons' cover of "Cold, Cold Ground" just doesn't do it for me. But like I said, this album has a total of 13 tracks, which means one throwaway doesn't sting so bad.

Back to the good though. This band has mastered pop-punk. They do it fast, they do it rough, and they do it without all the whiny bullshit that so many pop-"punk" bands are all too comfortable embracing. But then again, this is only second nature to these boys. I highly doubt it was a conscious decision to put out a record like this. They wouldn't know how to go about making a "polished" pop-punk album.

Some might complain that these guys sound like every other band out of Gainesville because of their raspy, gravelly vocals and their music that could be said to fit that same description, but they'd be wrong. No other band out of Gainesville or anywhere in Florida has yet to release an album that stays this fast, upbeat, and solid from start to finish. The Grabass Charlestons are one of the last bands out there, in my eyes, that are still doing pop-punk, or even punk rock, right. Here's to more to come.

Oh, and if you check this out and enjoy it, be sure to look into Billy Reese Peters as well. Two of the three guys in this band play in it and it shows. It's along the same lines as GaC but with a little bit of a Southern twinge. Definitely good stuff as well.