Details magazine editor Bart Blasengame claims that "If you don't like Superdrag, you don't like rock n' roll," it says that right on the sticker on the cover of 2002's Last Call For Vitriol. I like rock n' roll and I like a good challenge. The hyperbole amuses me. Could Superdrag possibly live up to this? I don't feel like I have a choice - I have to find out.
Within moments of "Baby Goes To 11," it's pretty clear, I'm safe - I do indeed like rock n' roll. In fact, I must love it because I love what I'm hearing. Here is what the Foo Fighters have tried so hard to be since the first couple of albums - raucous, ballsy, gritty rock - without so often overdoing it. But it's when they turn things down that really grabs me as a listener, such as on the mid-tempo "Extra-Sensory" or the outright acoustic ballad "Safe and Warm," where the band displays not only self-control but sensitivity. But it's "Way Down Here Without You" that creates the album's centerpiece. A lush tune of longing in a Beatles-meets-Beach Boys vein, it'll have you replaying the song a couple of times to catch all the subtle nuances - I know because that's exactly what I had to do a few times.
It'll also have you frustrated to know that this was likely Superdrag's final album. Vocalist and guitarist John Davis found God after years of hard drinking and put the band on hiatus, recording and releasing an album of Christian-themed music in 2005 on Tooth & Nail Records. From all accounts it is a decidedly different direction obviously, but quality music nonetheless. I think, however, it's safe to say most fans will hope for Superdrag to continue on doing what they do best.
In the meantime, Superdrag has four albums and one compilation of unreleased material to explore. For fans of Foo Fighters, the Posies, Cheap Trick, and Guided By Voices, this is essential stuff. And, of course, fans of rock n' roll.