Superchunk – Majesty Shredding (review of 1/2 the album)

Much to my embarrassment, just a few days ago I discovered Superchunk‘s 2010 album “Majesty Shredding.” I’m quite impressed, particularly with the first 4 songs. What I find most striking is how it layers two cool riffs beneath excellent vocal delivery reminiscent yet preceding the Get Up Kids. Interesting lyrical devices are scattered throughout, yielding new with each listening. The structure of the songs are unpredictable with the transitions feeling comfortable and natural.

My feelings on the first 4 songs:

1. Digging for Something
It feels like a sincere version of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” a song about searching. I especially enjoy how the backing female vocals lift the chorus out of the driving nature of the song. Every part of the song feels intentional, none of it is filler. The bridge comes out of a screeching guitar riff repeating a line, “it’s just getting dark and you’re waking up,” passionately building tension to be broken later by guitar ecstasy.

2. My Gap Feels Weird

In this song duelling guitars battle over a up beat rhythm. The song seems to be about emo culture, taking stabs at eyeliner, darkness, etc. My favourite part is the first verse, which is less directed and more veiled, “I know she sings this sadness just for me, and it makes me free,” always catches my ear. I like to believe it is meant sincerely.

3. Rosemarie

This song slows it down a bit, reminding me of an old 60s pop slow grind that wouldn’t feel out of place on the Ed Sullivan Show. The slow burn of song provides a platform for the guitars to dance between quick picks and long sustains, broken up with some of the album’s best lyricism.

4. Crossed Wires

This song speeds things back up, sounding optimistic using summer imaginary. Yet it definitely has a sense of tragedy, injecting lines like “a moment of peace, that I just can’t re-create,” between the otherwise positive escapism. The guitar work on the verse does a great job of backing this theme, it has a dancy vibe to it.

The rest of the album is good, just not quite as good. Check it out.

“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture – it’s a really stupid thing to want to do”
-Elvis Costello