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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Superkings
Secret Chiefs
Feedback

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


December 11, 2006
At a time when all that seems to be coming through the promo pipeline are Razorlight and Killers wannabes, it's amazingly refreshing to unearth an act offering a body of work that's unlike anything doing the rounds at present. The band in question here is Superkings, and they've arrived with their EP, Secret Chiefs (which is more a mini-album to be fair), a collection of songs that seems to have been teleported from another time and place, barely touched by the contemporary music scene.

Superkings' musical palette is broad, their songs painted by the seductive interplay of the piano, guitar and cello. But the main elements that emerge are Nick Cave, Paul Simon and Bowie. All three could not be applied to many contemporary acts and it is this that makes the Superkings sound so unusual. It is by no means original, but that isn't really the point. What is important is that the welding of these elements, passed through the hands of the songsmiths responsible for producing this EP, has produced a number of truly first-order songs.

The EP opens with the brief, rollicking "Requesting Balance," which relentlessly pulls along the lead singer's deep baritone vocals. Following up is the devilishly beguilingly, languid melody of "On The Broads," one of the EP's highlights. The mood softens and darkens on "Little Hope," a beautifully understated piano-heavy ballad with lovely male/female harmonies and a wholly complimentary string arrangement - another standout. "Phantom Limb" continues the downbeat, bitter piano theme before making way for the brief, but hopelessly catchy "Nathan Rosen". "Hey Boy" is the obvious Paul Simon moment here, but is still a class track, an above-average homage rather than a sloppy pastiche. Another first class gem, one worthy of the CD price alone, is "Hit the Ground Running". This is as good track as you're likely to hear all year. Seriously, it's an absolute mini-epic, full of strong lyrical imagery and an amazing piano phrase that displays an undoubted class act with an expert grasp of mood creation through sympathetic and careful song-arrangement. "Anna Stanaway's Flugelhorn" completes the EP, a playful, rumbustious, court-jester of a track about a century-hopping flugeler that displays another facet to the band's output.

The tracks here work on various levels, which bodes well for future success. They can be appreciated as a collective whole, as well as enjoyed individually. They will appeal to both the music lover and the casual listener alike. Superkings' debut album is apparently due out at the beginning of next year on the new UK label Feedback Records. If this demo EP is anything to go by, it should be well worth hunting down. Definitely a band to watch.

Reviewed by Mark Thompson


See other reviews by Mark Thompson

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