You can tell straight away from their musical style that Glasgow based SUPER ADVENTURE CLUB do not bow in the presence of conventionality. It’s no surprise then that they now release their ‘debut’ album ‘Chalk! Horror!’ …. some six months or so after its follow-up!
Here’s the deal: a short while before the band’s ‘zombie phase’ caught hold, they self-released this ‘Chalk! Horror!’ album to a smattering of local praise. However, with the sophomore album ‘Avoid Zombies’ attracting considerable positive comment from sources such as Kerrang, and Rock Sound magazines, their label (Armellodie Records) have shown their confidence in making the debut available to a wider audience.
Which is a bit of a bugger for those of us with a copy already and wanting to retain that certain air of ‘exclusivity’ / ‘one- up-man-ship’ but a pretty shrewd move as far as SAC are concerned!
Having seen the band play several times previously, it was perhaps a certain familiarity with the songs on his album that made it more of an ‘instant’ listen than it’s successor. It’s not got the hooks and harmonies that will have you whistling its tunes as you work, and it may take a bit more attentive listening than most of the dross you hear on the radio these days – but f**k me, it’s good!
Opening track, ‘In The Wee Wee Hours’ starts out with random sounding guitar noise that soon morphs into a dramatic, almost movie soundtrack theme. On several occasions you feel the track has ended only for it to move into a different and seemingly unrelated phase. The time signatures change, Bruce comes in with some screamed vocals and Neil’s drumming marries up to Mandy’s incessant bass. Actually, this track is probably the closest SAC get to a ‘proper’ rock song, albeit a pretty off-kilter and unconventional one.
‘Math Rock’ is a prime example of the band’s pointed but humorous, lyrical talents as Bruce bemoans the present tendency towards over-thought, joyless music:
‘Our lost musicality, is on the ‘e’ and ‘and’ of one, sing along? …. but all your accents are wrongs, an incessant drone in D, thirteen and one half beats too long. Call this a song? You must be having me on.’
‘Built-in Redundancy’ is pretty straight forward – quiet and almost lounge-jazz in style. You expectantly wait for it to explode and shower you with sharp shards of guitar noise and frantic vocals ……but it doesn’t!
‘Tommy Sheridan’ does though. Boy, doesn’t it just?!
(Tommy Sheridan will be well known to readers in Scotland. For those from elsewhere, he is a Socialist MP, probably more ‘famed’ for his appearance on Celebrity Big Brother, his perma-tan appearance, and Court cases! At the time of writing – October 2010 – he is presently on trial for perjury!)
Anyway –here’s the video for the song. There’s also a link at the end of the review that will offer a free download of the track!
‘Sloths On TV’ has Mandy taking on lead vocals in her child-like voice, singing something about ‘Jabba The Hut lying in bed and phoning Pizza Hut, drinking cheap cider and watching films with Rob Schneider.’ Yeah!
‘17th Century Ambassador Of Strong Swimmers’ is worth a listen, if only to try and fathom out (a) what the song is about, and (b) what motivates a band to come up with such songs?!
With the two previous songs being sort of ‘laid back’ – well comparatively, for SAC they are – the penultimate song ‘Sharkey and George’ zaps up the discordant and freak-out guitar, in addition to the volume as it nears the climax. Closing track ‘Shoe People’ makes good use of the ‘effects pedal’ as this instrumental scratches and screeches its way through its four-minutes-plus duration.
Nobody said this was ‘easy listening,’ but it’s maybe not as radical as you think. I know it sounds like it is all over the place, but there is a tune to it all. Honest. And it’s exciting and fresh and different.
It’s real difficult to pigeon-hole as regards style and genre, but ‘spazz-jazz’ is probably as good as I can come up with. Maybe I can plagiarise a couple of other (some say more ‘eminent’ publications – pah!) and that will give you an idea of what to expect:
KERRANG: ‘… the unhinged power is like listening to Biffy Clyro play-fighting with Dillinger Escape Plan.’
FRONT MAGAZINE: ‘…are the musical equivalent of South Park: funny and cartoony, but also faintly psychotic.’
(I prefer ‘spazz-jazz!’)
(Released through Armellodie Records on 18th October 2010)
(For your free download of the track ”Tommy Sheridan,’ visit here: http://superadventureclubuk.bandcamp.com/track/tommy-sheridan )