Superette must love animals. Last year, the group named their debut EP Rosepig after the dog that featured on the cover. The cover of their recent single, Touch Me, was adorned by a mouse and a birthday cake. No prizes then for guessing what to look for when you head to the record store to buy their fantastic new album, Tiger.
Tiger was created by the same line-up that brought us Rosepig but lead singer/guitarist Dave Mulcahy, bassist Ben Howe, and drummer Greta Anderson have stretched Superette into a more powerful musical unit than Rosepig would ever have suggested possible. That means the clean instrumental drive of the three-piece band is augmented by vastly more assured arrangement and studio production from the band and engineer Nick Roughan over a set of twelve songs that confirm their quality songwriting talent.
Killer Clown is the only EP track present on Tiger. Touch Me, also here, gives more indication of what to expect from Tiger -- confident, strident performance and extra throttle added to the group's vocals by Greta and Ben joining Dave at the mic throughout the album.
Comparisons to JPS Experience, Dave's previous band, are inevitable but Superettes' smart, distinctive music sounds increasingly like its own thing: a blend of chunky riffs and sweet melodies that makes real comparison hard. But if you blend the attitudes of a certain Sonic Youthness in the second half of Tiger and a hint of T Rex, especially by the slower songs, with your classic Flying Nun songwriting ingredients then you may have it. Add the cryptic lyrical sense that has always characterised Mulcahy's writing and there's definitely something special here.
What's certain is that there is variety aplenty. The ragged rocking of Ugly Things and I Got It Clean are followed by Saskatchewan and Taiwan, each with a bizarre geographical hook. The bright hooks of Touch Me and Kiss Someone contrast with upright heavy riff-monsters like Funny Weather and Felo de se. The mood then extends to gentler moments Bye Bye and Dave's beautiful solo album closer, Waves.
Superettes' videos for Killer Clown and Touch Me have already received plenty of attention. Killer Clown, a surreal adults-as-children party sequence starred the dog Rosepig. Touch Me features pretty much the same cast involved in some badass peep show action. Another epic Superette clip is due shortly for album track Kiss Someone, and they're promising this one is a safari video with the usual cast.
Those twisted visuals match Superette's song sensibility all too well. There are definitely some strange depths in their music. That just makes it all the more interesting and certainly adds to the fun. Tiger: all sorts of strange fun and definitely worth a ride.
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