By Zach Knowlton
I’m a bad indie kid. Before hearing Majesty Shredding, I had never listened to Superchunk, which I now realize was a huge mistake and I seriously doubt if I have any real friends left, because if I did, they would not let me go through life not knowing about this incredible and immensely influential band.
Superchunk was formed in 1989 and their last album prior to Majesty Shredding was released in 2001, so it’s been quite a while, but it seems as though they have picked up right where they left off.
I’m going into this review not having listened to any of their other stuff, just to get a clear view of what Superchunk is all about now, so apologies if you’re looking for comparisons to their earlier albums. But let me just say this: despite not having heard anything else they’ve ever put out, I can safely say that Superchunk seems to be all about awesome.
This band is amazing, and they are probably responsible for almost all of the music that I enjoy listening to now. From the fuzzy guitars to the killer male-female vocal harmonies to the “whoa-ohs,” it’s all there and all done beautifully. Majesty Shredding is one of the best albums of 2010, hands down.
The album opens with the lead single, “Digging For Something,” and even never having listened to anything Superchunk has ever released, I immediately got what they are all about. It kicks in with a super catchy riff, heavy drums and fuzzy chunky power chords. What’s not to love? And from there lead singer Mac McCaughan comes in with a nasally, but not obnoxious voice, followed by sing-a-long worthy choruses filled with “whoas.” “Digging For Something” sets the tone wonderfully for the rest of the album.
What follows is an amazing album filled with fun, memorable, and instantly familiar tunes. They aren’t complex, or even necessarily all that deep, but it doesn’t matter because they’re so damn good. Driving power chord guitars and fuzzy bass lines dominate musically. There’s a solo thrown in here or there, like in “Crossed Wires,” but they never feel out of place, more like lead lines than actual wankery. Superchunk seems to be the perfect example of maturing as a band without becoming a joke or cliché.
Lyrically, things are kept relatively light. There’s not a lot of deep metaphor or dense poetry to be found. It’s simple, and it hits home and is just relatable. Mostly they just want to make you find a spot with a view and blast them very loudly from some car speakers while you chill on the hood and watch some stars. Although, if anyone can tell me “My Gap Feels Weird” means, I would be quite grateful. That’s the only time Superchunk lost me. It’s an amazing song musically, but I just have no idea what the hell they’re talking about.
Majesty Shredding isn’t for everyone. If you don’t like Superchunk, then this album probably won’t change your mind. If you don’t like fuzzy pop-punk like Lemuria or Sleater-Kinney (kinda), then you probably won’t like this. Also, if you dislike joy and happiness, this isn’t the album for you. But for everyone else, there’s really no reason to not at least give it a listen. It’ll make you happy, and the universe will feel like a slightly better place.