ALBUM REVIEW: Superchunk – Majesty Shredding

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Superchunk have been around for awhile. The foursome from Chapel Hill, North Carolina formed in 1989 but Majesty Shredding is their first album in almost 10 years. Following up 2001’s aptly titled (until now) Here’s To Shutting Up, Majesty Shredding is, at it’s heart, a collection of catchy pop-punk anthems, but Superchunk does it so well that it never gets boring or repetitive.

The first thing noticeable about the album is how fun it sounds. Despite the polished musicianship of the band members, at the core of each song is an exuberance that fills each song with a feeling of youth and importance. These are four musicians, totally comfortable with each other, playing music they clearly love. Mac McCaughan and Jim Wilbur weave jangly rock riffs together on guitar – warm, fuzzy distortion coating every note. Jon Wurster keeps things going on drums, beating the snare and toms mercilessly. The songs hit hard and fast, collapsing in on themselves and then immediately exploding into dizzying, raspy choruses. McCaughan yelping higher and higher notes, his voice raw and emotional.

From the opening kick of feedback, “Digging for Something” starts the album off with a desperate 3:32 of soaring guitar and vocals. The band doesn’t slow things down until the middle of the album, but tracks like “Winter Games” prove that they’re just as comfortable taking things easier. Pounding drums and a chugging guitar riff drive the mid-tempo song along while McCaughan sings wistfully. Another notable track, “Everything at Once” closes the 11-track album out with an anthemic chorus – “Here’s a song about nothing and everything at once!” Superchunk knows what they’re doing and they love it. These are rock songs about aging and love and holding on but more than anything they’re songs about living life and enjoying it.

Majesty Shredding was released September 14, 2010 on Merge Records.

Review by Joseph Ocon

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