The Supers

by Bill Holmes
PopMatters Music Critic


Boasting a cartoon cover and an album title that the late Don Martin would be proud of, Toronto's Supers are every bit as energetic as their super-hero alter egos. With hooks galore and a couple of strong singer/songwriters in Maury Landry and Graham Powell, The Supers sound a lot like The Jags or even Fountains Of Wayne, albeit with much higher octane. And for that, large credit is due drummer Jeffrey MacPherson, who seemingly kicks every song in the ass just to make sure it doesn't lag. (And Tim Bovaconti, you're no slouch either — god forbid I mention three people in a four man band!)

There's what, a billion records coming out every day? Better have a strong lead-off track, and "Turn" is a killer; lyrically clever and containing several jumps that will have you punching the gas pedal in time. Ditto "Fall" and "So Many Crooks", although slower songs like "Even Fools" will please that sad drunk cowboy in all of us. The Supers know how to build a song, also, whether it's a pretty vocal like "Only You" or the ironic "Pill", which starts out drowsy and climbs key changes along with the mood of the lyrics. "Little Secret" might be too good for radio because it's a pure pop song, but "Always In Pain" might have just enough edge to it so that the alterna-geeks will listen. Only the very odd "Near Death Experience" defies inclusion; I can hear "Within You Without You" buried in there somewhere, but what it's covered with I don't care for.

Not to slight the music, but I have to mention the packaging again — anyone who has ever read a comic book will enjoy the way the "ads" page is used to list song and credit information, the colorful and wonderfully done insert and even the approval stamp from the "Rock Code Authority". So props to you, Marc Lafoy and Kurt Swinghammer, for the best work I've seen in a while.

Even though you, like me, have at least nine bands in your collection with the word "Super" in their name, Spklanng! finally lets you wash the phrase "Wang Chung" out of your system. As the record label says, try pop (