Superchunk: Wild Loneliness (Merge) - review | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, June 30th, 2022  

Superchunk

Wild Loneliness

Merge

Mar 01, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


When we last heard from Superchunk back in 2018, they put out What a Time to Be Alive, perhaps the toughest, angriest, most ferocious record they’d ever made. Emboldened by the protest movements and opposition to the then nascent Trump administration, it also featured some of their best songs ever, particularly the standout “Reagan Youth,” ostensibly about the ’80s punk band of the same name, but really also about growing up during the Reagan era and seeing shades of history repeating itself.

Now, given all of that, and their history since emerging from a nine-year hiatus with 2010’s masterful Majesty Shredding, it shouldn’t be completely unexpected that Wild Loneliness, their 12th album overall and fourth since 2010, is very different. It is, in fact, by Superchunk standards, the polar opposite of the melodic attack of Majesty Shredding and What a Time to Be Alive. Just like Majesty Shredding was followed up with 2013’s much different, more introspective and darker I Hate Music, this one follows What a Time to Be Alive with their mellowest effort since at least 2001’s Here’s to Shutting Up. Much of this release is full of acoustic guitars, occasional keyboard flourishes, and mid-tempo songs reminiscent of folk-pop that are not found on most of their releases (save for the aforementioned Here’s to Shutting Up and 1999’s Come Pick Me Up).

Given what has happened in the two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a record that looks inwardly lyrically as opposed to outwardly also makes a lot of sense. With titles such as “City of the Dead,” “Highly Suspect,” “Connection,” and the title track, it’s not hard to tell that current events have once again inspired this record.

Not all is as it seems, though. Despite the Beach Boys’ referencing title, “Endless Summer” is not a Beach Boys-style nostalgic paean to lost youth and good times, but rather a lament about how the pandemic has turned everything into an “endless summer” that the narrator (presumably singer/songwriter Mac McCaughan) doesn’t want to indulge in. It’s no surprise from the band and songwriter who once railed at lazy co-workers on their debut single, 1989’s “Slack Motherfucker.”

Overall, this is a stunner. Kudos to Superchunk for making another terrific record in the middle of a global pandemic. (www.superchunk.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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