Over the course of a prodigious twenty-year career, Superchunk has maintained a
precarious balance between pop and punk while adroitly managing to satisfy
admirers of both persuasions. Although the scorching guitars and sonic extremes
have been scaled back from the manic pace of their initial output, they still
maintain their sense of reckless abandon. They direct their efforts via a
determined forward thrust that spills over the melodic parameters and resonates
through a convincing display of sheer rock ‘n’ roll revelry.
Amazingly, it’s been a full nine years since the group’s
last full-length, 2001’s Here’s to
Shutting Up. Having arrived in the new millennium bearing a slightly more
accessible sound, the group has retrenched once again, a reflection of Mac
McCaughan’s desire to stay true to the spirited romp found in the band’s live
performances. He succeeds admirably; “Digging for Something,” “Crossed Wires”
and “Rosemarie” bask in an unhinged indie exuberance that’s flush with frenzy.
It’s noise, but with nuance, as if Keith Richard had opted to ally himself with
Pavement in their prime. Yet unlike some outfits that draw on an insurgent
attitude, Superchunk doesn’t succeed through intimidation. Rather, they exhort
their listeners to share in their celebratory revelry, so that in a real sense,
the new album exudes at least as much modesty as majesty.
DOWNLOAD: “Digging for Something,” “Crossed Wires” LEE ZIMMERMAN