As a professional (please note the sarcasm!) reviewer, occasionally albums cross my path which are less easy to do a write up for. This can be for a number of reasons but quite often it’s due to me not feeling one way or the other about what I hear. The Supplement offered up one of those challenges in that my first two listens to their self-titled debut made little impression on me in either a positive or negative way: I “nothinged” the release.
I felt that I was hearing something fairly flat with an almost status quo roc- like approach, which lacked a decent hook or any punch to get my attention. As such, this release fell into the "difficult to review" category as it clearly wasn’t inspiring me to come up with any sort of description of the music and/or any message the band were attempting to convey. However, I returned to the album two weeks later and although the initial trio of opening cuts still had that same response from me, I did find that in the middle of the 13 tracks came a few songs that offered up something slightly different to the rest of the Supplement.
What kicks starts this mini-revival is “Wasted Life,” a snappy, almost early-Descendents-like rant that is much different to all that comes before it on the album. Here the band appears to be a bit more comfortable and confident in what it is doing and it is no surprise that this is the best song on the release. From there on two more punkier tracks “Smash Through You” and “The Machine” follow, plus the more relaxed but no less enjoyable “Sinners and Sons” provided me with something I could actually get into and appreciate as listening material. I would add that this actually continued with the really good opening of “I Come For You” which, unfortunately, then descends back into mediocrity once that riff is over. Likewise “Raise Your Glass” has a great overall sound but features an extremely overdone theme of remembering the past and looking to the future--it seems many bands of a certain age like to write one song like this and I find it a tad tiresome now.
Beyond the tracks mentioned above, the offerings from the Supplement are distinctly average; although they can obviously play, the material doesn’t inspire any levels of excitement. It might be that if they focused a bit more on a style that suited them rather than potentially looking to grow up unnecessarily, this would allow them to write songs that had that much needed punch, thus they could produce a more consistent record.
Reading through the blurb that accompanied the CD, the idea for the Supplement is to get away from the snotty ’77 style of punk and move into a more mature sound, still rooted in punk rock but with a “blue collar” vocal added. Now I’m not 100 percent certain of what can be classified as “melodic blue collar vocal” but to me it reads as if there is an element of jumping on the bandwagon given that bands like Gaslight Anthem and the like have grown in popularity over the last few years with a gritty, tuneful sound, leaving in their wake a path for many to attempt to follow. I could be wrong here and doing the guys in the band a disservice but the songs on the album don’t really fit in with what is being written about them. That same blurb mentions bands like Bad Religion, Social Distortion and Minutemen influencing the members of the band but none of those influences fly high in the Supplements' own music.
This might be your bag but didn’t do enough to grab me by the collar, be it blue, white or any other color. Check them out and see what you think.