Every now and then there comes a (so called) “one-hit wonder”
that actually conjures up much more than that one good song.
It would be blasphemous to place Superdrag in that
single hit category but the un-informed amongst us would only
recall their radio hit “Sucked Out”. However, the follow-up
single, “Destination Ursa Major” was probably the better song,
hence removing the “one-hit wonder” tag almost immediately.
With their 4th full length album, Last Call For Vitriol,
Superdrag emerges out of all those unfair groupings for good.
The first track, “Baby Goes To 11”, is the best song I’ve
heard this year but having seen Superdrag preview three songs
off the new CD at the SXSW music festival here in Austin in
March, I know that “The Staggering Genius” is yet to come.
She’s one in a million, with lips of vermillion, she created
the heavens, baby goes to 11 start off the first track.
Ultimate lyrics to match the pure melody I associate this
band with. She’s shining a light brighter than a million
Suns, I can’t sleep tonight knowing she’s the only one. I’m
not in love, but now I want to be. John Davis does
Beatles-esque lyrics better than anyone today. (Well,
perhaps Rivers Cuomo is up there as well.) Don Coffey’s
grinding drums are a perfect backdrop while Sam Powers
and Mike Harrison hold their own as well. Next up,
“I Can’t Wait” bursts out with some scorching guitar work,
and although not up to Superdrag’s own melodic standards,
it is a rocking tune. The almost inevitable intro to “The
Staggering Genius” takes me back to the SXSW in-store where
this song resounded all the way from Tower Records to the
University of Texas Tower. More painfully blissful lyrics
to boot: I hope you’ll write some song where you mention
all the wrongs I’ve done. I’m not in love, but this is
my anthem. The guitar solo is immaculate and Coffey’s work
on the drums again barely eclipses Davis’s vocals. Are
you better alone?
“So Insincere” continues with more of the painful vocals
and adds some positive distortion to the guitars while “Extra
Sensory” persists with the melodies to die for. She is
a God to me maintains the lovesick lyrics though repeated
chants of nothing could go wrong end the song on a
positive note. More resounding guitars start off “Feeling
Like I Do”, and this one is reminds me of their early work.
The very Beatles-esque “Way Down Here Without You” is a great
‘middle of the album’ song. The band’s true potential and
tight-knit sound is clearly apparent by now. A little country
“twang” adds a nice touch to the beautifully crafted “Safe
& Warm.” More simple lyrics to fall in love with, and
for: I just wanna stay right here in your arms, till the
morning comes, I'll keep you safe from harm. “Remain Yer
Strange” reverts back to the fuzz pop and has considerable
energy to liven up the proceedings, and Powers’ takes up the
vocals like a pro. By the time “Her Melancholy Tune” kicks
off, critics might argue that the simple structure and melodies
are getting a little redundant but I think the winning formula
helps them stay fresh. Why mess with it? “Stu” is another
rocker, originally a work of Power’s previous band, Who
Hit John while “Drag Me Closer To You” is bluesy piece
to round out the album.
Superdrag generates enough raw pop energy to keep things
lively in between all the melodic hum-alongs. Last Call
For Vitriol works with the band’s positive creativity
and builds upon it throughout the album. If you haven’t heard
their first three records, start there, and then pick this
up. Heck, pick this one up today-- it is a pop masterpiece.
- Baby Goes to 11
- I Can't Wait
- Staggering Genius
- So Insincere
- Feeling Like I Do
- Way Down Here Without You
- Safe and Warm
- Remain Yer Strange
- Her Melancholy Tune
- Drag Me Closer to You
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