Superdrag – Last Call for Vitriol (2002)

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Details magazine editor Bart Blasengame once claimed that “if you don’t like Superdrag, you don’t like rock n’ roll.” It said that right on the sticker on the cover this album.

I like rock n’ roll and I like a good challenge. The hyperbole amuses me. Could Superdrag possibly live up to this? I didn’t feel like I have a choice: I have to find out. Within moments of “Baby Goes To 11,” it’s pretty clear, I’m safe. I do indeed like rock n’ roll.

In fact, I must love it because I love what I’m hearing. Here is what the Foo Fighters tried so hard to be since the first couple of albums — raucous, ballsy, gritty rock — without so often overdoing it. But it’s when they turn things down that really grabs me as a listener, such as on the mid-tempo “Extra-Sensory” or the outright acoustic ballad “Safe and Warm,” where Superdrag displays not only self-control but sensitivity. “Way Down Here Without You” then creates the album’s centerpiece. A lush tune of longing in a Beatles-meets-Beach Boys vein, it’ll have you replaying the song a couple of times to catch all the subtle nuances. I know because that’s exactly what I had to do a few times.

It’ll also have you frustrated to know that there would only be on more Superdrag album, and Industry Giants didn’t appear until 2009. In the intervening years, vocalist and guitarist John Davis found God after years of hard drinking and put the band on hiatus for a while, recording and releasing Christian-themed music before reconvening Superdrag after years apart.

I think, however, it’s safe to say most fans still hope Superdrag will continue doing what they do best. For fans of Foo Fighters, the Posies, Cheap Trick, and Guided By Voices, this is essential stuff. And, of course, for fans of rock n’ roll.

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Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson has contributed to Blogcritics, and maintained a series of stand-alone sites including Known Johnson, Everything is a Mess and others. He studied both creative writing and then studio art at Arizona State. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Tom Johnson
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