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“I hate music – what is it worth?” That question, sung at the beginning of Me & You & Jackie Mittoo, gives Superchunk’s 10th album (their sequel to 2010’s Majesty Shredding, which followed a nine-year hiatus) both its title and theme. The answer, informed by mid-life doubts after years spent in dingy rock clubs and crammed into smelly vans, isn’t so much provided lyrically as implied musically. As fuzzy, upbeat and yearningly anthemic as the sounds of their 90s heyday (if not more so), I Hate Music defiantly stares the indie rock lifestyle in the face and shouts, “I do it because it’s fun, goddamn it!”
There’s no reason to question Superchunk’s dedication. When they’re not playing underdog cult heroes themselves, singer/guitarist Mac McCaughan and bassist Laura Ballance run Merge Records, loyal home to Arcade Fire and Spoon. But it’s primordially satisfying and kind of touching to see the band still committed to the loud guitars, big hooks and fist-raising catharsis of their best stuff. There’s no better way to describe the music than impeccably Superchunky.
Top track: Me & You & Jackie Mittoo