Wild Loneliness

Written by: PP on 27/03/2022 22:05:21

Superchunk has been an example of consistency throughout their career. Twelve studio albums down and they are still writing ever so vibrant, positively charged rock music on latest effort "Wild Loneliness", albeit with a slight stylistic adjustment this time around. If you compare it to "I Hate Music" or "What A Time To Be Alive", the record features less fervour and rowdy energy, replaced by a calmer contemporary rock approach as the band move towards indie rock. While Superchunk has rarely been straight-up punk rock, their expression has frequently leaned against it much like Japandroids and Bob Mould do on their respective albums. On "Wild Loneliness", punk nuances are but an afterthought amidst other elements like smooth horn instrumentation on e.g. "Highly Suspect".

One of the album highlights, "Endless Summer", is a great example. Its casual strumming oozes relaxing indie rock vibes, but it does so while maintaining their signature-style, cheerful soundscape that oozes their pure love for playing upbeat rock music, just as you remember it from previous records. It's less noisy and fuzz-laden than in the past, but just as spirited and radiant, merely in a different manner.

That said, listening to songs like "Set It Aside" and the orchestral-backed "This Night" just doesn't bring about a similar sense of treble-charged fun and infectiously catchy sing-along as tracks like "Reagan Youth" or "FOH" did. The smooth saxophone on the title track brings forth a jazzy vibe, but I'm just not convinced this type of material offers the best possible Superchunk sound available.

That becomes ever more clear on songs like "Refracting", where the band picks up the speed and delivers an energizing, bright expression in the closest equivalent to their past couple of records. The contrast is stark - the explosion in vibrant melody and catchy vocals are an instant winner and underscores where Superchunk feels at its most natural and enjoyable. Regrettably for "Wild Loneliness", this style is in a minority on this album, resulting in the first less-than-stellar album from the band in as long as I can remember, even if it's still a solid album overall.


Download: Endless Summer, Refracting
For the fans of: Hüsker Dü, Japandroids, Bob Mould, Built To Spill, Dinosaur Jr
Listen: Official Website

Release date 25.02.2022
Merge Records

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