Monday, October 11, 2010

Superchunk - 'Majesty Shredding'

I like Majesty Shredding, the reunion album from indie rock institution Superchunk, but I also feel disconnected from the reaction it’s getting. Like most comeback albums, it almost certainly means the most to the biggest and oldest fans. Me, I always meant to check them out, but didn’t get around to it until now, and even then, I primarily bought the record because John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats) sings on one of the songs. I think that explains A) My devotion to TMG and B) My apathy towards Superchunk up ’til now.

Primarily, the record reminds me that the difference between underground rock genres is at times ridiculously minimal. See, when I listen to these songs, I hear pop punk done right, which is funny since most of the band’s fans probably wince at the term. But these songs consist of nasally, sugary, high-pitched vocals and big fun guitar chords. Oh yeah, and whoas. Can’t forget them whoa-oh-ohs. Ultimately, I hear Get Up Kids without the ballads; Rufio without the faux-metal breaks; Hot Rod Circuit only not as good.

Not that this distracts me from enjoying Shredding. I just think it’s funny how stoked people are getting on it. Regradless, this record is a nifty little number. My favorite track is, natch, “Digging For Something.” It’s a sugar rush guitar track about partying, and it has Darnielle on back-up vox. Hell’s yeah. Drummer Jon Wurster pounds out beat after beat while frontman Mac McCaughan bleats his heart out. “My Gap Feels Weird” nearly keeps pace, and even comments on punk politics, but after that the record starts to mellow out into midtempo territory, although “Slow Drip” and “Learned to Surf” help ratchet that energy back up.

Aside from the dubious guitar solos, there’s little in Superchunk’s sound that resembles where indie rock is at right now. Then again, the genres I’d tag them with, emo and pop punk, have changed several times over, and for the worse.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m lucky to have Superchunk back, just like you.

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