Release Date: May 4, 2015
Record label: Side One Dummy
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Hard Rock, Post-Grunge
It's all too often that contemporary bands who fall under the heavy music umbrella eschew the idea of simplicity, equating technical skill to the mastery of songcraft and thus creating oversaturated pieces that lack memorability. With their second LP, Ours Is Chrome, Superheaven have done the exact opposite, embracing the merits of easily digestible, infectiously catchy arrangements to deliver a work of unbridled power and absolute clarity in its intent and execution. Refining the grungy sounds found on their previous full-length, Jar, the quartet maintain the thick, fuzzy punch of guitars and predominantly major chord progressions.
There’s really no reason to fault Pennsylvania alt rockers Superheaven for wanting to ride the flannel-clad ‘90s bandwagon. It’s certainly a nostalgic commodity as of late, sure, but the foursome execute those thick layers of guitar with the least conceit or egotism. Instead of marring their production with slight shoegaze elements, they keep their crisp arrangements muted and poised, letting the songs surge and sway with a more reflective and thoughtful tone.
The sophomore studio album from the Keystone State retro-rockers formerly known as Daylight (their 2013 debut Jar was released under both names), Our Is Chrome doubles down on Superheaven's penchant for pairing flannel (Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots) with vintage tees (Weezer, Silverchair), offering up a sonically dense 11-track set that's as visceral as it is derivative. The quartet's unapologetic adherence to '90s tropes makes Ours Is Chrome more than a little bit hard to describe without invoking the names of the artists that it so liberally cribs from (nearly every track threatens at some point to break into either "In Bloom" [Nirvana] or "Plush" [STP]). Like their despondent grunge heroes, however, Superheaven favor melody over mindless might, and fat, midtempo rockers like the My Bloody Valentine-inspired "Blur" and the "Wave of Mutilation"-era Pixies-peppered single "I've Been Bored" are delivered with an immediacy that belies their weathered alt-rock architecture.
If ever there was a band stained with the signature of '90s grunge, it's Superheaven. After their name change from Daylight, I figured working with Will Yip (who also produced 2013's badass effort in Jar) would bring about a change in sound. That seems to be Yip's thing these days. These guys however manage to stick to their stylistic guns on Ours Is Chrome.