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Superdrag - Last Call for Vitriol (Cover Artwork)

Superdrag

Superdrag: Last Call for VitriolLast Call for Vitriol (2002)
Arena Rock Recording co.

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


Contributed by: EddieEddie
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Feeling depressed and confused and no one seems to understand? Don't worry, Superdrag understands. Last Call for Vitriol isn't really as angry as the title suggests, but it is emotionally complex. I picked this up hoping for something along the lines of Weezer's quirk or Ted Leo's energy, but ins.
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Feeling depressed and confused and no one seems to understand? Don't worry, Superdrag understands.

Last Call for Vitriol isn't really as angry as the title suggests, but it is emotionally complex. I picked this up hoping for something along the lines of Weezer's quirk or Ted Leo's energy, but instead I got something more like Jimmy Eat World's restrained melancholy. The band certainly has a lot they want to express. And even though this is a good album, their art would probably work even better if channeled through a poetry book instead of a rock recording.

The lyrics are obviously their main emphasis. Singers John Davis and Sam Powers perform very emotional messages with an extremely heartfelt voice. They seem to come close to tears when given an acoustic guitar. (These aren't pre-packaged pop feelings, folks.) It's sad and calm, but not negative and harsh. They've made "The Staggering Genius" a personal anthem of mine. These guys are authentic in every way.

And yes, each song is good--and often great--power pop on its own, but Superdrag doesn't take many risks. As I followed along from one song to the next, it was obvious that they don't like to escape from the same strain of contained, mellow guitar and just plain middle-of-the-road rock and roll. They do manage a few times, sure: "Stu" and "Remain Yer Strange" venture into uppity guitars and fast drum work, and they even have a country ballad-tinged song called "Safe & Warm". (Peculiar sound effects are sprinkled throughout, as well.) But it always felt like the guitarists wanted to belt out a squealing solo, but forced themselves to tone it down, anyway.

And I don't mean that as harsh criticism, either. The music fits the mood like a glove, and it's never boring, either. The album is perfect if you're feeling lonely or puzzled about life‚?¶but it's not entirely perfect for any other mood. Don't bring this along on a long car drive, or anything.

A little bit more creativity and imagination really would have unleashed this album to its fullest potential, but I still gladly take it for what it's worth. Gimme some rawer guitars, contrasting vocals, and some unconventional instruments (piano or harmonica, perhaps?) on the next album, Superdrag, and I'll be much happier‚?¶until the lyrics pull me back down to Earth, that is.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Pseudonova (February 19, 2004)

I respect your view with this review, but I sense that you don't have much experience with Superdrag. You said they don't take many risks, check out their 2nd album "Head Trip in Every Key". It has some of the wildest musical ideas and combinations I have ever heard, sitars, organs, all kinds of awesome in that album.
Not to mention their 3rd album "Valley of the Dying Stars" which was pure power-pop perfection. That time the anger was all bet restrianed.
My friend, what you heard was the last glimmer of a dying star. Even though it is, by far, THEIR worst album, it is still better than most. I REALLY encourage you to check out their other three albums, they are amazing compared to Vitriol. Not to mention, this is a band you have to let grow on you. Their CDs get better every time you listen to them. If this one didn't turn you off, you will love the other three albums. My personal fav. is Head Trip in Every Key, give it a spin, really a genius record.

Anyone interested in Superdrag should read this article. It explains a lot about them.

http://www.metropulse.com/dir_zine/dir_2003/1351/t_cover .html

PetroBPettson (February 15, 2004)

I really like Young Loud and Snotty by The Dead Boys.

Anonymous (February 14, 2004)

My favorite Superdrag song is "I Guess It's American" off their split with The Anniversary. I know a lot of people hate the more recent Anniversary stuff, but, if you don't, it's a pretty swell EP.

eyeball_kid (February 13, 2004)

Did somebody just ask what punk means again?

Anonymous (February 13, 2004)

I will undoubtedly be flamed for all eternity for typing this, but, this site is called punknews.org, right? Not that I am the authority on all things punk, but, what makes Superdrag punk enough to get reviewed on this site? I mean, in an abstract way, I consider Johnny Cash or John Zorn way "more punker" than, let's say Coheed and Cambria. When I ripped into C&C on some kinda tour schedule news item, I got all kinds of flames to the effect of "they are prog, even they say so.." Missing the point completely. Again, is this punknews.org, or prognews.org, or even altrock.org? If you care to discuss this with only the friendliest intentions, drop me a line at latopbottom@netscape.net.If you want to just write to tell me what a dumbass I am, save it. I already know that I am a dumbass and an asshole from everyones lovely replies to my posts.

eyeball_kid (February 13, 2004)

Is it a good idea to pick us this band's entire back catalogue? Cos they're all £2 each for some reason at the local record shoppe.

BTW Superjoint Ritual. But don't put them on the comp.

Anonymous (February 13, 2004)

you always play the race card.

Anonymous (February 13, 2004)

One day I'm going to make an uber-compilation of "Super" bands:

Superdrag, Superchunk, Supergrass, Supersuckers, Super Furry Animals... feel free to add.

Maybe I'll do that after I compile all the "Black" bands from 2003.

--Cos

Anonymous (February 13, 2004)

Yeah, remember that song "sucked out"? Yeah, when I was 16, I really liked that song "Sucked Out". I forget who sang it, but I'm sure they had the common sense to see that they were a one 'hit'(?) wonder, and gracefully disappear, along with that band with the Happy Days video.


Are you moronic? Weezer disappeared?

Besides, I figured a lad as old as yourself would recognize that Superdrag makes good rock music that most of these punk bands couldn't.

Anonymous (February 13, 2004)

I love these guys, but this is their weakest album.

1 In the Valley of Dying Stars
2 Head Trip in Every Key
3 Regretfully Yours
4 Last Call for Vitriol

poopypants (February 13, 2004)

i hated that sucked out song. fuk all of u

Anonymous (February 13, 2004)

These guys rule. I always make sure to play a song by them on my radio show every week.

Anonymous (February 13, 2004)

who sucked out the feeeeeLINGGGGG?

Anonymous (February 13, 2004)

if you want more instrumentation and creativity, check out Superdrag's record, "Head Trip in Every Key". That one will take you for a ride sonically.

Superdrag defintely could have had more hits (they released 4 full lengths before disbanding), but their label screwed them over royally. So they left the big leagues and went back to the land of indie labels. Super nice guys that know how to write excellent hooks.

Anonymous (February 13, 2004)

superdrag is a great band that pumps out really awesome pop ditties. i was lucky enough to see them on their 2 final shows. on recent releases a dark ribbon ran through the lyrics but after seeing john and co. in action you just know he has lived what he is singing. been there, done that. a what a fucking guitarist. john is the real deal. i really enjoyed last call for vitriol but i think in the valley of dying stars is their crown jewel.

PetroBPettson (February 13, 2004)

Yeah, remember that song "sucked out"? Yeah, when I was 16, I really liked that song "Sucked Out". I forget who sang it, but I'm sure they had the common sense to see that they were a one 'hit'(?) wonder, and gracefully disappear, along with that band with the Happy Days video.

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