The Super Vacations - Thicker Milk - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Super Vacations - Thicker Milk

So good are the 21 songs on Thicker Milk that it seems easier to listen to the album in its entirety than to attempt to do so piecemeal.

Artfully underproduced, the album's slovenly hybrid of space rock and garage rock, redolent of Pixies and The Dandy Warhols, is defined by incisive surf guitar, garage rock style drums, and space cadet vocals. Most interesting is the gusto with which the instruments tackle the material, at odds with the band's airhead vocal musings, as the Supers rattle through the songs like Stephen Hawking doing a multiple choice exam paper.

The band typically adopts a businesslike two-minutes-per-song approach, paring tracks down to a single verse, intro and chorus, but contained within the album's short length is a world of invention. Most of the time, the band resists the temptation to rock out and the album treads a fine line between pop and rock. On faster songs like 'White Lodge' and '1000 Mirrors', the 80s punk and new wave influence of bands like Agent Orange or The B-52s is apparent.

Guitar licks reach a feverish intensity on tracks like 'Free Tree', highlighting the intricate interplay between lead and rhythm guitars. Intermittently distorted and out of tune, the songs threaten to descend into chaos, as the band walk an ingenious tightrope. The band's melodic gifts (the bass is used effectively in this way on a number of occasions) ensure that in no time you'll be humming along to the songs, grinning like a buffoon, as glassy guitars fill the upper registers and drums rudely sprawl over the whole lot (you'll be playing air drums before you know it!)

The Super Vacations make reluctant heroes, disguising the songs' quality beneath murky production as if perversely worried that listeners will work out how great they are (the album's excess of sound spillage, geeky song titles and lethargic vocals, may prove unpalatable to some). Or maybe they are just holding something back for the long term. Whatever the reason, it suggests that the band are strangely in no hurry to make a big impression.

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