Cup of Sand (Merge)

Superchunk is something of an American counterpart to Britain's Buzzcocks: Mac McCaughan's adolescently high, just-this-side-of-whiny vocals mix well with the buzz-saw guitars, steady-as-a-redwood bass playing, and propulsive drum-bashing. This two-CD collection of mostly singles and compilation tracks from 1995-2001 finds the main aspects of Superchunk's sound still firmly in place.

But don't get the notion that Superchunk's stuck in a punk-rock cul-de-sac; while the band carries the banner of hook-laden punk proudly, it's not limited by it. "The Length of Las Ramblas" is a pretty, psychedelically tinged ballad with forlorn vocal harmonies. The winsome mini-epic "1000 Pounds" recalls late-'60s Beach Boys, weaving a charming, wide-open amalgam of reflective folky melody, shimmering vibraphone, and an idyllic country-banjo motif.

But the bulk of this set is vintage Superchunk: Surging power-chord-driven tunes, such as "The Hot Break" and "Dance Lesson," are in the vein of their classic single, "The Question Is How Fast." Superchunk has pulled off one of the neatest tricks in contemporary rock: It's retained the old-school punk-rock verities (economy, wit, urgent angst, infectious melodies) while managing to age gracefully.

Latest in CD Reviews

More by Mark Keresman

  • Josh Hoge
  • Josh Hoge

    With Ernie Halter. Monday, June 9, at the Beachland Tavern.
    • Jun 4, 2008
  • Silver Jews
  • Silver Jews

    Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea (Drag City)
    • May 28, 2008
  • Firewater
  • Firewater

    Wednesday, May 28, at the Beachland Tavern.
    • May 21, 2008
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment



Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Staff Pick Events

Facebook Activity

© 2015 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation