88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 10/15, written by DJ Ones, WKNC deejay
It’s hard to believe that it has been nine years since Superchunks’s last full-length album. Aside from recording a track here and there, Majesty Shredding comes as the Chapel Hill band’s storming entry back into the forefront of the local music scene. Although the legacy of Superchunk will most likely spur talk about the history of Merge Records and the earlier punk scene of Chapel Hill, it is increasingly difficult to fail to acknowledge their arsenal of great music.
Almost a decade has gone by and Superchunk has not missed a beat. Starting from the first track, “Digging for Something,” the album channels that same heart and drive prominent throughout their career. Upbeat, anthemic, and full of great guitar riffs, Superchunk proves they are still hyper enough. The high-paced tracks keep coming. “My Gap Feels Weird” punctuates a more mature, higher-quality production that never loses sight of their distinct sound. Subtly layering the vocal styling of lead singer Mac McCaughan, the track progresses and builds toward a strong ending—the likes of which do not disappoint. However, the band does show they can perfect slow-paced pop tracks. “Rosemarie” offers a great transition out of the upbeat into the relaxed, and is still able to deliver the distinct Superchunk kick. Tracks like “Hot Tubes” and “Fractures in Plastic” are sprinkled throughout to give the listener a general break, and they are a necessary breather for an otherwise fast album. They also show how Superchunk has strengthened so many areas of their overall sound over the decades.
Nevertheless, prepare to strap yourself down for this album. Barely skipping a beat, Superchunk delivers epic guitar riffs that penetrate almost every song and are timed masterfully within the tracks. Where other bands may attempt to write songs that are similar in nature, very few are able to execute them on the same level as a band as experienced as Superchunk. Majesty Shredding ends on one of the highest notes any album for the year has. “Everything at Once” starts with the simple background vocals of the band and builds with the introduction of McCaughan’s high-registering vocals. The track builds a sense of anticipation released with a face-melting guitar solo. With every member firing on all levels, it is hard to deny that fans of Superchunk, or the power-punk sound that signified the band’s career, will be disappointed with their latest release. The wait has been well worth it as Superchunk has crafted another album that not only will reignite the interest of old fans, but will also fit nicely as one of their most complete albums to date.
88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week is published in every Friday in the print edition of Technician, as well as online at technicianonline.com and wknc.org.