I was pleasantly surprised on a recent trip to the music store and saw that the 90’s indie group Superdrag had released a new album. Superdrag had not released an album since Last Call for Vitriol (2002) a good album that provided several solid songs (I Can’t Wait and A Staggering Genius among the best) but yet not strong enough to get the success they deserved. Another good album is In The Valley Of The Dying Stars (2000). Although, the strongest song on that album in my opinion was Unprepared (clearly influenced by Eliott Smith) a very good song without question, but clearly unable to support the album as a whole, and as usual the rest of the album contained songs that just landed flat and nothing to write home about.
The bands past efforts since their one big hit (Sucked Out) on their first album Respectfully Yours (1996) have ranged from moderately entertaining to overwhelmingly redundant. Superdrag became a band that I was no longer interested in following; each album sounded like all the others, clearly the formula was no longer working. Suprisingly their recent release might actually have some promise of drawing fans back.
I saw Superdrag in their infancy in 1994 when they played in long dead Boston club called The Causeway (above a bar named The Penalty Box on Causeway Street, across from the Boston Garden). The original line up of John Davis, Don Coffey Jr., Brandon Fischer, and Tom Pappas was incredible to watch play. These guys were tight, sharp, and clearly loved playing live. My good friend Scott Sangiacomo (Full Time Dreamers, ex-Shine drummer) invited me to see his band warm up for an up and coming band from Knoxville, TN…Superdrag was that band.
Superdrags newest effort resonates with influences from bands like Weezer, R.E.M. and early Husker du. What I think makes this latest effort so different to previous releases is that Superdrag is back to the original line-up and clearly the bass of Tom Pappas helps bring the original Superdrag sound back to the fans. Prior albums had featured Sam Morris on bass and although good, something just seemed to be missing. Tom Pappas fills that missing piece.
Songs to watch on this album are Slow to Anger, Cheap Poltergeists, and perhaps the best song on this album Aspartame. Does Superdrag hit this album out of the park? No, not even close. However, it’s a good step in the right direction and I’m happy to see the original line up back together and collaborating. I do hope that the band supports this album with a tour since they are very, very good live.
To hear a sample of SuperDrag’s Aspartame click here
Superdrag’s Industry Giants gets a 3.5 out of 5.