Rockin' Rock

Last Call for Vitriol (Arena Rock Recording Co.)

By Kevin Gibson

In a musical world where EVERYTHING has a classification, Superdrag's latest disc is one helluva refreshing change. This is just good old-fashioned rock `n' roll, filled with awestruck love, gut-wrenching heartache and unabashed introspection.

What's better is that Superdrag's approach to music harkens to bands like the Posies, Dillon Fence and Foo Fighters. On "Feeling Like I Do," Superdrag even makes brief use of a chord change you might recognize from Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper." Wow.

But this album doesn't come full circle until we get to the Alex Chilton-inspired "Way Down Here With You" - a pure pop masterpiece, complete with multi-part harmonies, a power-pop arrangement and gently jangly acoustic guitars on which the whole thing floats like a bird on a breeze. Damn good stuff.

I defy you to show me a band that can move as effortlessly from heavy guitar arena rock to sweet and simple pop as Superdrag. John Davis and Sam Powers combine on some of the sweetest melodies you'll ever hear anywhere on the aforementioned "Way Down Here" and the tender "Safe and Warm." Moments later, they're rocking out with guitarist Mic Harrison (the V-Roys) on hell-bent power-poppers like "Remain Yer Strange."

These guys have been through the indie headaches, the even bigger major label headaches, touring and more. It's all come down to this no-frills rock record, the likes of which we haven't heard since the Ramones brought us back to sanity more than 25 years ago. This is a must-have for lovers of classic rock, power pop, electric folk, arena rock - oh wait, we weren't going to talk about categories, were we? Sorry, it's just been too long since I've heard an album that didn't beg to be categorized.