BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
The timid may be tempted to beg off Superchunk’s latest opus, not only due to the aggressive, angst-intensive title, but more because of the ferocity with which they actually rebut that notion. In truth, I Hate Music affirms the fact that Mac McCaughan, Laura Ballance, Jon Wurster and Jim Wilbur are as passionate as ever when it comes to their musical inclinations, and if there’s any animosity whatsoever, it’s likely mooted by the pent-up fervor with which they exorcise their emotions. (Since the recording of this album Ballance had to quit due to hearing issues and was replaced by Jason Narducy.)
Clearly, restraint is the last thing on the quartet’s collective mind here, with the vast majority of the tracks sounding like a scenario which would find Geddy Lee fronting the Replacements. Yet however bizarre that image appears, it’s the absolute frenzy of a song like “Staying Home” that transcends any and all comparisons. Mostly, the set finds the quartet reveling in a giddy celebration of all that is music, specifically those sounds classified as rock ‘n’ roll. Songs like “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo,” “Void,” “Trees of Barcelona” and “Out of the Sun” offer up an overtly effusive and exhilarating display of intent, all surge and no purge, at least when it comes to shunning the standard.
It’s best, then, to credit Superchunk with making some noise and grabbing some attention. So make no mistake. In the balance between hate and love, the scale leans towards the latter. Although the scorching guitars and sonic extremes have been scaled back from the absolute manic frenzy that characterized their initial output, they still maintain their reckless abandon. They direct their efforts with a determined forward thrust that spills over the melodic parameters with a celebratory display of rock ‘n’ roll revelry.
DOWNLOAD: “Out of the Sun,” “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo”