Rock 'n' roll took a turn back toward the loud and sleazy a few years ago, and music has been better for it. There's something about juiced-up guitars and big dumb rawksongs that's missing from the music of ultra-serious groups charting the topography of their navels. It's called fun.
True, life's not all gingerbread and rainbows, and there's certainly a place for morose self-flagellation, somewhere off to the side of raucous, joyful power chords lifted right from the AC/DC songbook. You have to figure Supagroup is familiar with the Thunder from Down Under; just listen to "One Better" or "Down to the Letter" from the band's self-titled national debut.
Sometimes AC/DC's influence seeps through a little too much, but what Supagroup lacks in originality, the New Orleans quartet makes up for in attitude. "There's only three things we really sing about anyways: sex, drinking and rock 'n' roll," singer Chris Lee says in the press notes. Noble topics for rock music, no?
The band is also a tight musical unit, and it shows on the mammoth riffage and precise rhythm of "Woulda Been Nice," easily the best song on the album. Supagroup also demonstrates its chops on "One Better," which features a gritty guitar solo and lyrical mockery of rap-metal bands. The guys unpack a dirty, slow blues groove on "Murder, Suicide, Death" and barrel through the straight-ahead crunch of "Rock and Roll Tried To Ruin My Life."
It's a little presumptuous for the band to refer to itself as Supagroup, but the members' sheer brass and obvious musical ability make them pretty darn good.
The Hartford Courant is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.
Supagroup (Foodchain Records) ***