Listen Up: Wednesday, April 06, 2005
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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Supercell

The New American Standard (Self-released)

By Billy Walters

It seems like yesterday that the airwaves were polluted with rap-rock bands, each successive pack of thugs more grating than the last, and all congealing into one cacophonous mix of ugh.
Thankfully that trend has passed. But in its place is a new, no less insidious fad, one that finds young men projecting anger inward instead of against the world. These boys wear their hair carefully disheveled, they sport faux-vintage duds with broken-hearted anthems on the sleeves, and they aren’t afraid to let the world hear them sing through their noses.
All of this Dr. Phil-ish getting-in-touch-iness may not look like a pose, but don’t be fooled. It is.
Enter North Texas’ Supercell, whose first full-length, The New American Standard, was produced by Zac Maloy, formerly of The Nixons, a band all too familiar with melodic, just-hard-enough rock with a tear on its cheek. The marriage is perfect; Supercell delivers similar tune-age. The thing that separates the Supercellers from the rest of the pack, though, is that they now have a great-sounding album under their collective belt.
Which isn’t to say the music is great — it sounds like most of the stuff already being spun on The Edge.
After the “arty” lead-off track (another fad that won’t die soon enough), “Swept Away” explodes from the speakers in a glorious, blistering guitar riff, all tone and fury like the kind the grown-ups dig. Then the drummer, the too-cool-for-school-ishly named Moonshine, brings the thunder. My stars, the drums! Standard has some of the best-sounding rock skins since those on Green Day’s American Idiot. Then Jason Wheelington’s snarled, vibrato-soaked voice delivers what we’ve come to expect from Edge bands (e.g., whiny angst), but damn if this track doesn’t rock the boombox on the way out into the airwaves.
Speaking of Green Day, the Bay Area dookies come to mind more than once during Standard. By its name alone, the record lays claim to the benchmark for alterna-pop fist-pumping — heavy on crunch and heavier on message, much like Idiot. Those are lofty heights the Supercellers have their eyes on; it’s not surprising the guys fall a tad short. Not that that’s bad. It’s not. Standard just sounds a little too familiar to warrant a recommendation without reservation. — Billy Walters


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