• Supersuckers – Play That Rock N’ Roll (Acetate Records) Album Review

    Released by: Acetate Records
    Released on: February 7th, 2020.
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    The Supersucker’s thirteenth studio album was recorded over four days in June of 2019 outside of Austin, Texas at Willie Nelson’s Pendernales Studio by ‘Grammy Award winning audio engineer’ Mr. Steve Chadie. Once again comprised of Metal Marty Chandler on guitar and backing vocals, Captain All Nighter (Christopher) Von Streicher on drums and one Eddie Spaghetti on lead vocals and bass, this album doesn’t see the band trying to reinvent the wheel – rather, it’s a collection of them doing what they do best, that being providing straight ahead, no frills rock n’ roll played with a sense of humor and the right amount of raw polish.

    Ain't Gonna Stop opens up the album and, as you’d guess, it’s another track about how The Supersuckers really are not going to stop doing what they do. This has been a recurring them in their later work, but their constant touring and recording would stand in testament to the sincerity behind this statement. It’s a straight ahead rocker and a catchy enough tune. This band has been going for over thirty years at this point (taking a deserved year off so Eddie could deal with a throat cancer diagnosis), so they’ve earned the right to brag a little bit, it’s a proclamation of sorts and the sound of a captain welcoming us aboard our flight somehow seems entirely appropriate.

    Gettin' Into Each Other's Pants is a song about fucking, and if you know anything about rock n’ roll, you know that almost all of the best rock n’ roll songs are about fucking. This track is played with tongue firmly in cheek, a humorous account of a couple getting ready to get it on and then, well, getting it on. It’s as catchy as it is gleefully juvenile.

    Deceptive Expectations opens with a bit of a twang, a sound not at all unfamiliar to those who have followed the band over the decades. This twang quickly leads into a thumping drum beat and then the guitar and bass barrel over it – The Supersuckers’ sound now complete. There’s some stop/start action here with the playing but the vocals stay sleek and slick from start to finish. This med-tempo rocker will get your foot tapping even if it isn’t the most memorable track on the album.

    You Ain't The Boss Of Me turns things up a notch or two, opening with a dirty blues sound and presenting itself with a whole lot of sleazy swagger. The vocals are as defiant as anything the band has laid down on tape, some cool backing vocals complementing Eddie’s raspy leads.

    As we hit the half way point, Bringin' It Back, one of the shorter tracks on the record at just over two-and-a-half-minutes, but also one of the fastest, greasiest and coolest. This is vintage Supersuckers, it rocks right from the start, guitar up front, a tight rhythm section and Eddie’s vocals oozing with the type of sincerity that has been a hallmark of this group since the early days.

    The title track, Play That Rock N' Roll, is about… playing rock n’ roll. Again, this is another track about living and loving rock n’ roll, opening with a Ramones reference and going on to name drop Motorhead. It is, oddly enough, the closest thing to a country track on the record, but it’s got a big hook and you’ll have it stuck in your head for a while afterwards.

    The band shows their sense of humor again with That's A Thing. This track is about ‘not getting it’ in terms of modern day pop culture – the chorus makes it clear when it repeats ‘I didn’t know that that’s a thing.’ It’s a funny but pensive track about getting older and not caring about new shit, but also not wanting to give up on the music of the past. It also sounds a whole lot like the song Tiger Feet by Mud (that video is amazing, by the way – click on it, you won’t be sorry – and if nothing else it proves The Supersuckers need to work on their dance moves), but since that song kicks ass we’ll give it a pass.

    Last Time Again is a straight ahead rock n’ roll song, and a good one at that. It’s the fastest track on the album, and also the most melodic. Von Streicher definitely earns his keep on this one, keeping the pace fast as fast can be and never missing a beat. You’ve also got to appreciate a song that’s mantra is ‘we’ve got to start living it up before we get too old.’

    As we come closer to the finished line, Die Alone proves a surprisingly heavy slower track, one that pontificates about, as the title so subtly implies, dying alone. It’s crass and crude, but it’s got that authenticity that makes a good song a good song and you can’t help but appreciate that about it.

    Dead, Jail Or Rock N' Roll, a Michael Monroe (of Hanoi Rocks) cover, gets Metal Marty on lead vocals. If you’re familiar with the original, well, this isn’t so far removed from that. Yeah, it sounds like the Supersuckers more than anything else, but Marty’s vocals are in the same vein – they sound like they’ve been influenced by years of hard living and life on the road – and Eddie and the Captain play fast, tight and properly skeezy behind him. Great stuff.

    It all finishes off, quite appropriately, with a cover of the Allen Toussaint-scribed A Certain Girl (originally recorded by Ernie K-Doe in 1961 and then The Yardbirds in 1964). By covering this one (an unlisted bonus track), they simultaneously pay influence to the kind of music that clearly influenced them and at the same time put their own stamp on a legitimate classic. This is clearly a very different take on the song than the one that K-Doe laid to wax but play them back to back and you’ll have no trouble making the connection. This sounds closer to The Yardbirds’ version ,but it’s a really cool way to finish the album off.