Supenik - Riff Power Revolution

Supenik are a band about forty years too late. They seem to want to exist in the late 60s grungy rock scene where long scruffy hair and dirty guitars were the order of the day. Now however, we must use conditioners and hair straighteners and your guitars have to sound bigger than Robbie Williams' ego and more polished than the vases in Buckingham palace.

Supenik are playing a dangerous game, the sound of the album is rough and muffled and most of the time all you can hear is the grimey guitar. Whether this is intentional or just a case of poor mixing and lack of mastering is unclear, perhaps a bit of both. The guitars themselves are overpowering at times and don't sit very well with the rest of the band, the tone is brash and thin in places and reminds me of computer based guitar effects rather than cranked up Marshall amps. The talent of singer/guitarist Joel Gray is obvious as he widdles through at least one solo per song. Don't expect anything like Slash or Hendrix, it's more pub-rock than stadium filling, but still good cock-rock fun. The only problem is that he does go on a bit, although this does help to take your attention away from the singing.

Joel's vocals are reminiscent of the Rolling Stones or Sex Pistols, only not as good. He sort of shouts in a typically over-pretentious strained voice through the songs with fairly generic lyrics. The microphone has either had some awful distortion effect applied to make it sound like the Strokes, or in fact has just been badly recorded, perhaps both. That's the problem with this album, you're never quite sure if it's intentional understated genius, or just plain bad!

The songs themselves aren't that bad, they don't go on too long which you'll be grateful for, they just don't really stick. The most memorable moment of the album is the opening to 'I Feel' that can only really be described as a mess. The band have attempted the old trick of starting with a guitar and using the introduction of drums to change the feel of the riff; however, everything is just out of time at the start and it takes the band a good few bars to get in sync, once they do though it's fine. It's a shame that that was the most memorable thing though.

Despite the criticisms there is something that Supenik have which you just can't put your finger on. There's a definite vibe running through the CD and it makes you want to rock out. The flaws make the record what it is, quirky and incomprehensibly likable. If you give the album a chance you'll probably end up with a soft spot for it, you just won't be able to figure out why!