Superchunk Come Pick Me Up

Considering Superchunk’s origins as a band that cut its teeth on anthemic punk rock singles at the beginning of the decade, notably "Slack Motherfucker" and "Seed Toss," one can’t help but marvel watching the Chapel Hill quartet close out the ’90s by releasing one of the best albums of its career. Since 1994’s Foolish, Superchunk, which still has rip-snortin’ punk anthems to burn, has consistently been developing as a band, producing a steady string of solid albums. Superchunk’s latest effort, Come Pick Me Up, sees the band head to Chicago to hook up with Jim O’Rourke and a crack staff of session players. These 13 songs feature strings, horns and other studio additions, but the strength of this disc is the performances by core band members. "Good Dreams" sees the quartet firing on all four-cylinders in a driving open-road rave-up that recalls past triumphs such as "Precision Auto" and "Animated Airplanes Over Germany." But the band also spent the off-season practising some new moves. Songwriter Mac McCaughan has broadened his vocal range as he creeps in a falsetto warble to add an extra emotional wallop to some songs, including "Low Branches" and "Pink Clouds." These slow numbers sing, adding a new dimension of sound to indie rock’s most awe-inspiring band. (Merge)