Superchunk - Majesty Shredding
Superchunk are legends of sorts, rivaling Built to Spill in terms of critical success, lasting influence, and lack of mainstream success. They pioneered their own brand of high-energy indie-emo pop and did it so well that two decades into their career and nearly a decade after the release of their last album, people are still dropping their name. Two of its members created Merge Records to distribute their own music and ended up with bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, Spoon, Dinosaur Jr., and Arcade Fire on their client roster.
Given their history, it’s difficult to separate art from the artist(s) when it comes to Superchunk, and in that respect their flaws as a band will either be overlooked or viewed as intentional. The most glaring realization upon hearing Majesty Shredding for the first time is that their sound hasn’t changed much in the past ten years, as though this record was written immediately after their last record (2001’s Here’s To Shutting Up) and dusted off only recently.
At the same time, Superchunk didn’t really need to put out another album – they’ve already got the accolades and, thanks to the success of Merge, the industry clout and financial stability to do as they please – which puts Majesty Shredding into a rather flattering light no matter how you look at it. This is clearly a record the band wanted to make.
And it shows. Majesty Shredding is catchy and moves at a clip. It sounds a bit same-y on the first run-through, but its charms reveal themselves through repeated listens: the loveliness of the organ at the end of ‘Rosemarie,’ for example, or the pause-vocal-pause bridge of ‘Hot Tubes.’ The whole album’s a winner.
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