Superdrag - Head Trip In Every Key
2 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
By Tony BonyataHiding their superficial, latent power-pop sensibilities under the guise of alternative rock (which, after nearly 10 years, is in need of a serious face-lift), Superdrag pulls out all the stops - lush string arrangements, sugary sweet vocals, horns and even the ever omnipresent sitar - on their sophomoric release Head Trip In Every Key. The only problem is that 'all the stops' have been frequented all too often by virtually every alt-rock band before them.
Formed in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1993 guitarist and vocalist John Davis, drummer Don Coffey, Jr., bassist Tom Pappas along with guitarist Brandon Fisher recorded their first album entitled Regretfully Yours which garnered them a respectable amount of critical acclaim.
While Head Trip In Every Key is somewhat of a departure from the bare bones rock on their debut it doesn't have a lot more to offer outside of the middle-of-the-road sound that's dominating the stalemated alternate rock scene today.
Cute harmonies ("I'm Expanding My Mind" and the XTC-flavored "Pine Away") along with power-pop guitar chords flourish throughout the album, but then so do predictable song structures, forgettable melodies and humdrum experimentations, such as the sitar-tinged and orchestrally forced "The Art Of Dying" as well as the slow, downer of a ballad on the ironically titled "Amphetamine".
Just when the album seems to pick up steam, as on the muscular rocker "Bankrupt Vibration" and the bouncy "Hellbent" it runs out of breath on "Shuck and Jive" with it's cheesy, Foghat-like guitar riff and the somber "She Is A Holy Grail" in which the band practically sleepwalks through.
Davis seems to best sum up the overall tone of not only the album but the entire state of alternative rock today on the song "Annetchrist" as he drones out "nothing's cool, nothing matters".
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