When you get older, time flies by faster and faster. It’s been already eight years since Vol. II, which itself followed ten (!) years after Vol. I, which was merely an EP. But now we’re in the present with Vol. III by the ironically named Supergroup from the German town of Nuremberg. All three musicians have garnered experience, if not necessarily fame, in bands like Throw That Beat In The Garbage Can, The B-Shops, Lotus 7, When Skipjack Tripped, Pickles and probably many more.
I guess the only reason Micropal Records doesn’t pressure them into a faster release schedule is the fact that the label is run by the three musicians. This guarantees total artistic freedom. This time for instance, the trio decided not to release a CD, but instead a vinyl record with a complimentary download code. Good decision, in my opinion, as their music reminds of a time before plastic replaced vinyl.
After eight years, it’s hard to tell what actually changed with Supergroup, except that the fact that there are fewer guest appearances on Vol. III. Otherwise we get superb songwriting by a band that sounds more relaxed than ever. The influences are located in the early Seventies (Big Star, Television, Velvet Underground) and the early Nineties (Lambchop, Giant Sand, Bevis Frond). So basically you get guitar driven American styled alternative / indie music that has probably never been fashionable in the first place. This is a sure sign to repel any trendsetters, but those with a more distinguished taste will relish the forty minutes of music. While it seems obvious to me that Supergroup are above trying to copy other artists’ sounds, it still happens that you may discover parallels. The moody opener Your Love Is Like A Rolling Stone for instance is sedated Americana à la Lambchop. The following Heart In The City is a purest proto power pop à la Big Star and manages to convey all of its spirit under three minutes. The five minute long The Favourite Song Of Someone clearly heads back into early kraut rock psychedelia and stands apart from the often mellower material, although it’s on the following Hear Me Out where Supergroup deliver gnarly space rock reminiscent of Bevis Frond. The concluding Pitch-Black made me think of a young, space obsessed David Bowie on acoustic guitar.
All of this might make you think that Vol. III is a varied if not entirely original album. While the former is absolutely true, the latter hardly is. These are just the acoustic images Vol. III has put in my mind, and it is quite probably that somebody else might hear something completely different. One thing’s for sure: Vol. III must be listened to in one go to unveil its magic. A cursory glance won’t do it any justice. I am once again positively surprised how these three veterans take well known ingredients and cook up a dinner that is amazing and spectacular.