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Superchunk - I Hate Music (Album Review)

Friday, 16 August 2013 Written by Huw Baines

The passing of time is something of a going concern for all of us. On 'I Hate Music', their 10th full-length, power-pop legends Superchunk have faced it head on.

When the band crashed back into our lives three years ago with 'Majesty Shredding', their first record in almost a decade, they would have had plenty of material to deal with the subject then. But, that would have undone everything that album's hyper-kinetic sound eventually achieved. It was a riot, a celebration of four people being back in a room together banging out songs.

'I Hate Music', as its arresting title may attest, is being billed as its 'darker twin'. It's a description that really only works on a superficial level. The album is not as emotionally stark as 'Foolish', not as consistently frenetic as 'On The Mouth'. It's darker than its predecessor, yes, but it's more reflective than bleak.

Superchunk have been doing their thing since the late '80s, when their catchy brand of alt-rock became the toast of college and indie radio. Since then, they have seen carefree youth and touring come and go, founded a successful label and, more recently, said goodbye to some dear friends.

'I Hate Music' takes these influences and packages them up as Superchunk songs, meaning that the opening feedback of Overflows is followed by a batch of three-minute tunes that knock their rivals and pretenders out of the equation.

Me & You & Jackie Mittoo contains the fateful phrase, "I Hate Music", in its opening line, but goes on to document life on the road in self-deprecating detail; its glorious, summery chorus offering a resounding 'fuck it' in the face of rising doubts.

The record does have its harsher moments, notably as the band roll back the years to offer their take on '80s hardcore with Staying Home, but overall the atmosphere is one of grinning through anxiety. Low F, Your Theme, Breaking Down and Trees Of Barcelona are among the quieter tracks on 'I Hate Music' but are also some of its best, offering mesmerising melodies alongside Jon Wurster's boisterous drums and Mac McCaughan's high-pitch yowl.

F.O.H is perhaps the one song that would sit most comfortably on 'Majesty Shredding', with its anthemic guitar lead and shouted chorus making it one of the most gleefully accessible musings about pre-gig nerves ever. Actually, maybe it's the only one.

On 'I Hate Music' Superchunk have produced another collection of songs to make their fans clutch them even closer to their hearts. It offers a different side of the band while maintaining their commitment to writing killer tunes. It's an absolute triumph.

Superchunk UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows

Tue December 3rd 2013 - LONDON Electric Ballroom

Click Here to Compare & Buy Superchunk Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


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