Rock You To Sleep - C'mon and Cheer Me Up!

The Hextalls are a pop punk band in the vein of the 1990's Lookout Records roster. This, of course, means that it's the best kind of pop punk out there. Short and (mostly) humorous songs about girls, parents, hockey and Kenny Rogers, is there anything else a pop punk kid could ask for?

Rock You to Sleep is the newest release from the Canadian quartet. I'm still somewhat of a new fan of the band, but I am aware that they started in 1998, broke up for awhile, then got back together in 2007. I haven't listened to any of their pre-break up music, so I can't honestly make an accurate comparison to how their music has changed since their inception, but I can say that this new album follows the exact same formula as the previous two (2008's Call It a Comeback and 2010's Get Smashed). It also follows the exact same formula as every Teenage Bottlerocket album, most Steinways songs, the first Dopamines album, tunes by the Adorkables and even the Copyrights and Lillingtons.

By that, I mean it is a shining example of the modern pop punk genre that has been so graciously dubbed, for better or for worse, "Ramones-core." This is not a bad thing, especially if you're a fan of the genre, because it means that you know exactly what the songs will sound like and if you'll enjoy them or not. However, it does mean that there is very little diversity of sounds found on the album, and the little that is there does not do a whole lot to make the album stand out above the rest. The best modern pop punk bands all do something with the three-chord formula to make their music stick out: The Ergs! aped the Descendents' style of oddball guitar chords mixed with incredible bass lines; The Copyrights (and Dear Landlord) know how to create vocal harmonies that almost put Bad Religion to shame; Teenage Bottlerocket has Kody from the Lillingtons and The Dopamines simply decided to just release Expect the Worst, the best pop punk album of the decade. The Hextalls will incorporate a piano on a few tracks and sing about Kenny Rogers, but that's not enough to really push them to the top of the game.On the tracks that do feature the piano, such as I Don't Want to Go Down to the Basement, Either (what a fun Ramones nod, although the song itself is about poop) and Pebbles the Happiest Chihuahua, the singer (who, despite the claims made in My Name Is Kenny Rogers, is not Kenny Rogers) kind of sounds like Ben Folds. While it does make the band slightly more unique, it's still not enough to really make them the next big thing in pop punk.

I realize I'm giving off the impression that this album is nothing special, but it is actually really good. The songs are catchy and will get stuck in your head even if you don't realize it...
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Rock You To Sleep - Bombshell

I've been following these guys (and gal) for a few albums now and they just keep on getting better. If you are into the whole 'ramonescore' type of punk/pop then hopefully you already know them. Humourous lyrics over catchy simple punk tunes. You will be singing along in no time. There are highlights galore, and while their last couple of albums have been crackers, this one is their finest to date. 'My Name Is Kenny Rogers', 'I Just Wanna Sleep In The Treehouse', 'I Bred This Beard For Slaughter' and 'I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement, Either' are all gems. The next spare 25 minutes you get, click below and give it a stream. Good fun.

Rock You To Sleep - Punk News

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.

Rock You To Sleep - Up The Pucks

There are bands that want to grow and push limits with each subsequent album, and then there are bands that know exactly what they want to do and then go and execute it perfectly. The Hextalls are certainly in the latter group. The Vancouver based band plays the type of irreverent, immature pop punk that always has a place in the heart of punk enthusiasts. Like their past work Rock You to Sleep is meant to me a hell of a lot of fun with goofy lyrics about Kenny Rodgers, sleeping outside, and generally being a goofball. While nothing the band does is really special, they really are a clever a bunch of guys. The Hextalls take the modern pop punk trick of adding a piano to add depth and emotion to a song and turn it on its head by pairing that piano with lines about flat bike tires. On the Flyers playoffs focused "I Bred This Beard for Slaughter" the organ shows up in true hockey style to play during a short bridge. Its little touches like that that make a fun album interesting to listen to. Its refreshing when a group of guys know they aren't reinventing the wheel, but sure as hell did rip the tire off and make a kickass swing.

Rock You To Sleep -

There's only one band that can get away with opening their new record by singing "You're listening to the greatest band in the world / You're welcome, for the greatest, you're welcome, we're the greatest band in the world" in repeat mode during its chorus without sounding pretentious and self-indulgent. That band is The Hextalls from Canada, an anthemic no-frills pop punk band who have ever since their inception thrown seriousness out the window of the top floor in a skyscraper and focused on having as much tongue-in-cheek fun as possible. It's a group of dudes whose only intention is to tell the world how awesome it is being in The Hextalls, how all music needs not to be super serious nor artistically complete, and how it's perfectly alright to bin all norms about recorded music in favour of a bright, summery expression about topics most other bands would discard as juvenile or unworthy material for a studio album.

And so their latest album "Rock You To Sleep" is basically a direct continuation of the path taken on their hilarious record "Get Smashed" from two years ago. Without a care in the world, the band sings about wanting to be naked in a tree house, how country music star Kenny Rogers should be naked in a park, how Danko Jones & Avril Lavigne suck in comparison to the Canadian CBC Radio 3 host Grant Lawrence, about Tiger Woods video games, about Philadelphia Flyers losing to Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL Stanley Cup Final a couple of years ago, and much more. Perhaps most importantly, they sing about being completely smashed at all times of the day. Pretty much every song sounds like The Hextalls downed a 12-pack of beer each and decided on some retarded topic to sing about, went into the studio, and laid down some high-octane power chords, floored the pedal and let singer Devin turn the whole thing into a light-hearted summer party. The songs are silly - even more so when you consider that the band are in their 30s - but the truth is that they still know how to write perhaps the catchiest music out of any no-frills pop punk band out there. If you don't like "Rock You To Sleep", you probably hate having fun and frown upon those who you view as immature people (read: those having more fun than you).

Rock You To Sleep - The Punk Site

Their name pays homage to both one of the greatest punk bands to ever exist (The Ramones), but also one of the most badass goalies to ever lace up in the NHL (Ron Hextall). Their songs name check folks like Kenny Rogers, Shania Twain and Bryan Adams. Their average song length hovers around the two minute mark, yet they still manage to drop a seemingly endless supply of F bombs. They play simple, fast paced pop punk (think Screeching Weasel, not Good Charlotte) and they play it well. If Chixdiggit are the fathers of Canadian pop punk, then The Hextalls are their bratty teen sons.

Rock You to Sleep is 13 humorous songs that range in topic from growing a playoff beard in support of the Philadelphia Flyers (and the annual heartbreaking shave that notoriously follows their inevitable loss) in "I Bred This Beard For Slaughter" to an offbeat tribute to a Canadian icon ("Grant Lawrence, King of the Forest.") "I'm A Hulkamaniac!" is a catchy song that name checks "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Mr. T, which will appeal to 80s kids.  There is nothing greater than singing along to "Holy Fuck I'm a Dad," only to hear your 3 year old (who was supposedly sleeping) parroting the line from the back seat and telling you to turn up the rock and roll. They combine punk rock and humor in a way that doesn't feel as awkward and embarrassing as middle aged Blink 182 members making penis jokes onstage. They weaned out the short clips that dotted their previous release, Get Smashed, which were interesting, but unnecessary. Small bursts of piano are scattered about, which sounds like an uncomfortable blend with the constraints of the genre on paper, but adds a little diversity to the album as a whole.

This style of pop punk isn't known for its originality, but The Hextalls manage to stand out in the overcrowded scene. Their songs are less cynical than Screeching Weasel, funnier than Teenage Bottlerocket and poppier than The Descendents. On their third release, The Hextalls have fine tuned their formula and released a high quality album that is fun to listen to.

Rock You To Sleep - La PunKerie

[Translated (poorly) from the original French article with Google Translate]

The Hextalls, training Canadian pop punk musical is a mixture of bands like The Copyrights, The Ramones, The dopamine and The Lillingtons, etc.. The Vancouver group is not a first album, they have three other drives. Unlike other opus, the maturity through the unique humor of the texts is felt on the fourth studio album "Rock You To Sleep."

Independent in the Canadian scene since 1998, The Hextalls still offer excellent discs after fourteen years. "Rock You To Sleep" transports you to a world of its own where found fanatics Hulk Hogan, Kenny Roger, Kelly Gruber, Tiger Woods and especially hockey. This is normal, since the name of The Hextalls was indeed a link with the legendary goalie in the NHL, Ron Hextall. The latter played for the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and the famous Quebec Nordiques.

The album begins with "Welcome To The Record II - Electric Boogaloo" from which the title is pretty clear: He announced the beginning of the album "Welcome To The First song, On the brand new record ..." This is what the intensity of the end, even if it is not in the carpet makes the song off and prepare well for the ears the next room. We find the universe humorous piece on the group about the country singer well known arts community "is Not My Kenny Rogers." Another great song that shows the pop punk at its best and that is near perfection to my ears.

Some of you listening to "I Just Want To Sleep in the Treehouse" will no doubt remember the tree house they had and where they camped there. Musically, other songs have struck me, but the list one to one often comes to the same thing. I especially liked the last song on the disc which has about fatherhood "Holy Fuck I'm A Dad". Always in a context of humor, but still reflects the reality that often surprise with this life, whether desired or not.

The vocal side, there is not much to say: We hear and understand clearly the meaning of texts and the tone is almost perfect and this is what makes the success of the album ... When everything is well done and good quality, we can only love! "Rock You To Sleep" is easy listening and in all contexts and fits perfectly in your disc drive car. You listen to your music with a glass of wine, cocktail or a beer very cold (the classic), the album will mix perfectly with the atmosphere and you will not be disappointed...
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Rock You To Sleep - Troublezine

[Translated (poorly) from the original Italian article with Google Translate]

Initially available only in mp3 from Bandcamp or ordering the CD from the band, "Rock You To Sleep", the new album from Canadian Hextalls, find his best form in the vinyl (in different colors) edited by our Surfin'Ki Records, which already that there has also reprinted the previous "Get Smashed".

14 tracks that apart from the slow Pebbles, The Happiest Chihuahua (where there is only a piano accompanying the entry) keep us company at the rate of pop-punk that is too powerful to define but it is also simplistic to consider light.

The Hextalls are in the middle, or shoot pieces in sequence rather always pulled (a battery backed, low very present) but it can be very easy and quite immediate with melodies azzeccate, assolini to throttle, tactical insertions of keyboards and the usual , very special, sugary voice.

In this, then do not differ too much from the hundreds of other bands. However, what characterizes them and distinguishes them from more than anything else are the lyrics: surreal, ironic, funny and taking almost always subject to a fictional or real.

The usual tricks of the trade well, but used in a more conscious and mature compared to the recent past, leading "Rock You To Sleep" to be not too different, but slightly better than the last "Call It Comeback" and the aforementioned "Get Smashed. "

Rock You To Sleep - Razorcake

I always look forward to hearing new Hextalls material, but I have learned not to drink orange soda while listening, unless I want it to spit it out on my keyboard. Devin's lyrics are always hilarious and this record is no exception. But it is the music by Jeremy, James, Nicole, and Devin that keeps things steaming along nicely. I'm sure you will find your own favorite lyrical topics once you dive in. Devin's current obsessions seem to be Kenny Rogers and Hulk Hogan. Quality songs here that should get them into the Canadian Rock and Roll Hall of Fame shortly.

Rock You To Sleep - Uncle Critic

Canada's greatest living pop punk is back with a new album, this time they didn't get some fancy label to release it for them, they just did it themselves. It's called Rock You To Sleep and it's really fucking great. They've got all the goofy and great songs you'd expect from the Hextalls on here with tons of Kenny Rogers and hockey references. Thirteen songs that will make you have a good time weather you like it or not. This isn't the best Hextalls album, but I'll say it sits solidly at the number two rank; these guys just get it right every time. If you're a Hextalls fan I assume you already own this, if you're just a pop punk fan you need to own this.