Superdrag – The Fabulous 8-track Sound of Superdrag

4 out of 5

Produced by: Nick Raskulinecz

Label: Darla

The all music review quips that this is the album for you if the mainstream haints to come cause your shaved legs to shake with not-cool-enough nerves, but that’s a bit short-sighted; Superdrag was always Superdrag, from this early effort through the polish of Head Trip and to the rough and tumble return of Industry Giants.  Once aware of their sound, play a song from any album and its pretty immediately identifiable.

Which is by no means a bad thing.

‘Drag’s casual blend of punky attitude with 70s glam and trash jams, sprinkled with some pop romanticisms, impresses for exactly the start of that description: How casual it is.  They can rough it up with Sucked Out or play a cheesy love song and it all just sorta works, and works in a way quite un-“neo” as many eventual followers in the early 00s could be labeled to be, i.e. Superdrag had the influences and wrote their own songs, not coming across as aping a genre or style.

On 8-track, its true that that style is,production-wise, more stripped down than later productions, falling solely on guitars, bass, drums, and vocal harmonies and allowing in some rough edges, but the songwriting style mostly remains the same: Catchy hook-laden rock on opener Sugar; contemplative noisemakers like Bloody Hell and closer Load; more pop-than-rock on toe-tappers like Really Thru; punk rushes like Blown Away…  But again, the band makes it sound easy to step through these various subgenres, and the songs blend then together more than my descriptions allow for.  If 8-track is lacking something some later albums would have, it’s a bit of connective tissue.  The mini-album doesn’t have the cohesiveness of something like Regretfully or In the Valley, perhaps because there were some lineup changes yet to come after which the band could settle into a dense groove.  The tracks each feel a bit like singles, and occasionally end without much fanfare.  But maybe that’s that raw indie flavor you’re looking for.

8-track features all quality ‘Drag songs any fan will enjoy.  But: It’s not an album I return to too often, and that might be because it doesn’t quite register as an album so much as a collection of (above average) tracks.