by Eric Layton
pop is a tricky thing; few do it well, many more shouldnt
be doing it all. The Supers, hailing from Toronto, are among the
participants in the genre that definitely belong in it. Their
debut Spklanng! is an appealing and brisk collection that
both showcases the bands talents and gives power pop a much-needed
melancholy Secret opens the disc, featuring plaintive
vocals and the familiar shimmering guitar work that
has been the hallmark of pop six-stringers from John Lennon to
late 10,000 Maniacs guitarist Robert Buck. Furthermore, its
a piece thats not only in step with the balladry of their
fellow Toronto-ites Barenaked Ladies, but a tune the naked ones
would be proud to have penned themselves. Besides the Supers themselves,
credit that to their producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda, who has
manned the board for the Ladies in the past.
Secret is a bit glum, things dont stay blue
for long, as Turn is a bouncy, garage-rockin
winner. Ditto for the hyperactive, edgy So Many Crooks,
which, in a telling lyrical maneuver, indirectly name-checks Twist
twist and shout indeed, but the Supers can relax and murmur, too.
In fact, the group seems to relish the push-and-pull nature of
a ballad-rocker-ballad song order here, as the shoe-gazing, Weezer-ish
Only You is followed by the strident, guitar-propelled
Fall, which bumps up against the folky rumination
Even Fools, and so on. But regardless of how hard
they rock or how soft their touch can be, the quartets craft
and seemingly effortless playing are in full evidence throughout.
Spklanng! is sharply-produced and thoughtfully-written
power pop thats tough to resist.