I’ve had a frustrating day today, I’m tired and I’ve not managed to get the things done that I really wanted to achieve today. What’s worse, is that in the 1537 household we’re all equally tired and equally crabby today and it was too wet to get a proper walk done. So tonight I was looking to soundtrack my frustration and picked out Superchunk On The Mouth which I bought as soon as it came out in 1993. They were highly touted in that far off era of grunge and American alternative rock, but at the time, apart from one track I couldn’t really see the point and I doubt whether I’ve spun this more than three times in 20 years.
Plus points: it’s on beautiful bright yellow vinyl which is always a treat, the track ‘Precision Auto’ is brilliant, umm, yeah, that is to say I, umm, yeah is it still raining out? Superchunk were famed for their first, I think, single ‘Slack Motherfucker’ back in 1990 and for being a real blast live – I never quite got to see them though.
First track, ‘Precision Auto’ is just a perfect sped-up, angular tearaway track – but don’t take my word for it listen below. It’s frantic, a bit jarring and just overdosing on kinetic energy,
Do not pass me just to slow down
I’ll move right through you
All in all, bang on perfect and a track I still listen to a lot on all manner of playlists. I recorded ‘Precision Auto’ onto the beginning of my Rage Against The Machine cassette, and when it stops I just crave and expect the start of ‘Bombtrack’, the two tunes go together perfectly. In the context of On the Mouth though, it smacks into ‘From The Curve’. Like the bulk of the tracks on this LP it’s fast and churning and the band sound like they’re having a good time, but it’s lacking in any real dynamics or much of a tune. Next track ‘For tension’ is better again, but the same criticism remains.
I write notes if I’m listening to something I haven’t heard for a long time so I can bring you my opinions fresh out of the oven, rather than a bit half-baked but after about four tracks I gave up here. With honourable mentions for ‘I Guess I remembered it Wrong’ and ‘The Question is How fast’, it is just all too samey to distinguish between, a bit reminiscent of a sped-up angrier REM at times. I fear you could wall me up in a cellar with no distractions, light or reading material having On The Mouth pumped in constantly to me day and night and I would struggle at the end of the week to explain exactly how ‘Mower’ differs from ‘New Low’, or ‘Flawless’*. Now this may come over as a bit rich, given my two favourite bands are AC/DC and Ramones, however they both had enough tunes and minor variations packed away inside their formula to avoid any such cold stew. Sadly the one time they really mess with the formula, on ‘Swallow That’, by slowing it all down is awful, turgid even.
I was hoping for an overlooked gem tonight, something to sweep away my fatigue and Grrrr-ness generated by a totally pants day, what I got was a vinyl version of my day so far. Not what the doctor ordered. Sorry guys, but I heartily recommend you grab a download of ‘Precision Auto’ as fast as you can.
*should any of you regular readers be depraved psychopaths with a very literal turn of mind, please don’t make this particular dream of mine come true, just go back to your safe place and finish gnawing on that thigh bone from the last blogger you walled up alive.