Superchunk Leaves in the Gutter

Superchunk Leaves in the Gutter
For their first release in eight years, Chapel Hill's Superchunk send four homeless songs into the world on Leaves in the Gutter, a great and unexpected document of their more ferocious tendencies. 2001's Here's to Shutting Up revealed an energetic power pop band in transition, mucking with their punk guitar sounds more than they had beyond any b-side or compilation appearance. Though culled from recent songwriting sessions, Leaves in the Gutter contains arrangements that hearken back to the earliest incarnations of Superchunk. Written to freshen up the band's sporadic live sets over the past decade, songs like "Learned to Surf" and "Misfits and Mistakes" bound forward with bubbling exuberance, as riffs, rhythms and Mac McCaughan's singular voice mesh together like an engine excited to be turned over again. As the band tear through "Knock Knock Knock," the wave that hits Superchunk fans isn't nostalgia but a reminder that one of the finest bands of the past 20 years are as vital as ever. (Merge)