It took me a while to come around on ’90s indie rockers Superchunk, and I’m not entirely sure why. Because hmm, let’s see what traits Superchunk have in common with the kind of music I usually graduate towards: Raw ear-pumping melodies? Check. Ties to the ’80s/’90s alternative scene? Check. A lead singer that loves joyously shouting at the top of his lungs? Check. A desire to be pretty darn catchy while still rocking the fuck out? Checkitty Check Check Check. So I suppose it should come as no surprise that I’m pretty down with the band’s follow-up to their ass-kicking 2010 comeback album.
Majesty Shredding, the comeback album in question, was pretty great because it saw Superchunk effectively channeling the energetic quality of their early ’90s stuff without any regard for the fact that the indie landscape had changed considerably in the ten years since they had released an album. I Hate Music is in many ways a continuation of this, as songs like “Me & You & Jackie Mattoo” and “FOH” have that great teenage-inspired scrappiness that Superchunk have always exuded, no matter what their age.
Thankfully though, I Hate Music never quite sees Superchunk as a band just rehashing their old sound just for the sake of having some fun. No, there’s actually a bittersweet quality to some of the songs, which occasionally mix Superchunk’s dependably effervescent qualities with a twinge of longing and regret. I think the opening track “Overflows” lays out the album’s M.O. quite nicely, as it starts as a contemplative ballad and eventually leads to joyous refrains of “Let’s go!/Don’t let go, let go!”. Which has a nice contradictory quality to it, while admitting that veteran bands like Superchunk are probably at their best when simultaneously pushing themselves forwards and backwards at the same time.
Favorite Tracks: “Overflows”, “Me & You & Jackie Mattoo”, “FOH”