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I Hate Music, by Superchunk

In 2010, Superchunk came back from an "extended hiatus" with the aptly titled Majesty Shredding. Now, after a three-year hiatus, the Chapel Hill fearsome foursome returns with I Hate Music.

Apparently the hatred of music sounds something like a cross between a late ’90s Superchunk album and lead songwriter Mac McCaughan's side-project, Portastatic. For the most part, Hate is a melodic-rock outing not far-removed from recent releases by the likes of Fountains of Wayne and Teenage Fanclub. Great company, for sure, but the edges seem a bit too smoothed out for the ’Chunk. While Majesty Shredding songs such as "My Gap Feels Weird" and "Learned to Surf" roared with the classic, hyper-active energy of No Pocky For Kitty, Hate is a much more subdued affair. Believe it or not, the mid-tempo numbers on here steal the show from the rockers, which seem somewhat forced this time around.

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If you're a fan, there's still plenty to make you smile on this release, though. After a mellow start, opener "Overflows" blossoms into a full-fledged anthem that ranks with the band's best work, while "Low F" and "Breaking Down" both sneak in just enough crunch to feel like On the Mouth leftovers.

Album: I Hate Music
Artist: Superchunk
Label: Merge
Songs: (1) Overflows (2) Me & You & Jackie Mittoo (3) Void (4) Staying Home (5) Low F (6) Trees of Barcelona (7) Breaking Down (8) Out of the Sun (9) Your Theme (10) FOH (11) What Can We Do

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In 2010, Superchunk came back from an "extended hiatus" with the aptly titled Majesty Shredding. Now, after a three-year hiatus, the Chapel Hill fearsome foursome returns with I Hate Music.

Apparently the hatred of music sounds something like a cross between a late ’90s Superchunk album and lead songwriter Mac McCaughan's side-project, Portastatic. For the most part, Hate is a melodic-rock outing not far-removed from recent releases by the likes of Fountains of Wayne and Teenage Fanclub. Great company, for sure, but the edges seem a bit too smoothed out for the ’Chunk. While Majesty Shredding songs such as "My Gap Feels Weird" and "Learned to Surf" roared with the classic, hyper-active energy of No Pocky For Kitty, Hate is a much more subdued affair. Believe it or not, the mid-tempo numbers on here steal the show from the rockers, which seem somewhat forced this time around.

Sponsored
Sponsored

If you're a fan, there's still plenty to make you smile on this release, though. After a mellow start, opener "Overflows" blossoms into a full-fledged anthem that ranks with the band's best work, while "Low F" and "Breaking Down" both sneak in just enough crunch to feel like On the Mouth leftovers.

Album: I Hate Music
Artist: Superchunk
Label: Merge
Songs: (1) Overflows (2) Me & You & Jackie Mittoo (3) Void (4) Staying Home (5) Low F (6) Trees of Barcelona (7) Breaking Down (8) Out of the Sun (9) Your Theme (10) FOH (11) What Can We Do

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Comments

Fountains of Wayne? Ouch. Being a longtime fan of Superchunk (pre-Here's Where the Strings Come in), this comparison kils me. Considering their past and what Superchunk and Merge has done for indie-rock, the band doesn't deserve to be lumped in with the group that sang "Stacey's Mom". Just my two-cents.-dH

Aug. 19, 2013

Fountains of Wayne have quite a solid back catalog of songs, and, unfortunately, "Stacey's Mom" ain't one of them. This album veers more in the direction of Mac's solo Portastatic output, which is more in line with all the underground outfits who have, for years, been trying to write the perfect three minute pop song. Fountains of Wayne would have been one of these bands had it not been for "Stacey's Mom" co-opting this formula all too well and catapulting them well above the underground. Other bands mining similar territory would be Teenage Fanclub, Superdrag, The Minus 5, the New Pornographers, Sloan, etc etc. As for Superchunk, I bought No Pocky For Kitty after I saw the video for "Throwing Things" on MTV 120 Minutes circa 1991 and was immediately enthralled. This was a band that forged the missing link between the heaviness of the SST bands I worshiped (Descendents/Husker Du/Black Flag) and the college rock bands I would grow to adore. Like it or not though, this album is a far cry from the edginess of No Pocky For Kitty or On The Mouth. Comparing them to Fountains of Wayne certainly wasn't meant as a slag, but I guess to people who will always hate this outfit it comes across that way. Fountains Of Wayne do currently put out records on Yep Roc though, which does give them at least a teeny-tiny bit of indie-rock cred. I'm sure there are at least a couple of outfits on Yep Roc that Mac wouldn't mind having in his stable O' bands.

Aug. 24, 2013

You're right. Fountains of Wayne never did it for me, partly because I was so offended by Stacey's Mom that I never delved deeper. They always came off as one of those major label radio-friendly bands, which, at the time, made me sick to the core -- yep, I was one of those guys. Merge, early Sub-Pop and other labels like Dischord, K, Up, etc. were more my deal. That said, I completely agree with your take on Superchunk's new album. Thanks for responding and for opening my mind a bit, as hard as that may be, about FoW.

Aug. 24, 2013

I would suggest checking out their debut for their most consistent and least cheesy offerings. I also always found their deeper cuts to have more payoffs than what they tended to release as singles. "Red Dragon Tattoo," "Amity Gardens," "Bought For A Song," and "All Kinds of Time" are all excellent songs. They are a band that always tends to put songs on albums that make you say "WHAAAAAAAAA????" though. (See: "Stacey's Mom" and "Peace and Love")

Aug. 28, 2013
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