Greg Milner, Stuart White and Tom Whitfield are Supercaan. The band has been working on their self-titled debut Supercaan for the last four years or so. Suffice it to say the album certainly seems like they put a lot of work into it.
The album sounds like The National replaced their guitars with synths and were a little more inspired by bands like U2, New Order and M83. You can hear this on the opener where the band tries to create a sense of awe with arpeggiated synths and pads. There is a build on the drums and you can feel the song is going for an epic sort of feel. It's really hopeful and simultaneously nostalgic and vast in a way you have heard from U2 but also bears comparison to M83 in a lot of ways.
There are some striking similarities to the vocalist of Supercann and Matt Berninger of The National. It’s not only the deep baritone but also the inflection and pronunciation of words. On top of that the music itself sounds similar at times especially when the music veers towards somber and melancholy like you hear on “Drag Me To Sea.”
The band may sound their most distinct on a song like “Tobacco and Vanilla” which is a very good synth pop mixed with a tad of post-punk. There is a beautiful juxtaposition between the atmospheric pads and upbeat melodies. That more upbeat and optimistic sound returns on “The Great North-Eastern” which you could argue is influenced by new wave. It’s an infectious sound with a great groove and killer hook.
The band has more success on “Hang On For Winter” and “Mosquito” which builds on the foundation they have been building. I was expecting an epic song for the closer entitled “Ryoan-Ji” but wasn’t sure if it was going to be fireworks of joy or reflective melancholy and reflection. The latter is the direction they chose. It’s a slow burn with arguably the best sound design on the album. The song slowly builds to a crescendo, has a quick dip and then goes into a final crescendo before the dissipating instrumental aspects fade away.
This album was a big endeavor and the production backs it up. The recording quality is good enough that it doesn't make these attempts at something grand with a larger than life feel fall short. Furthermore the songwriting is good enough that it could stand without all the bells and whistles which is a hallmark of good music. Recommended.
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