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Sarah Tomlinson

Supersnazz Superstupid!

On their 1993 Sub Pop debut, Superstupid!, Japanese rockers Supersnazz — who borrow their name from an album bythe Flamin’ Groovies — deliver an electric album of spiky, retro rock & roll. What they lack in technical prowess, they make up for with sheer spunkiness, showing fresh zeal for the simple pleasures of surf-tinged rock, without any of the jaded weariness of their American counterparts. With a joyous energy equaling that of fellow Japanese imports of the same era, Teengenerate and Guitar Wolf, these ladies approach their songs as if they were discovering the cool rebellion of rock & roll for the first time. They cruise through an album of simple high-energy songs, anchored by a rough garage-flavored guitar that launches into vigorous solos, and a direct, pummeling drum assault. Spike’s frayed vocals slither, growl, and scream, and although the lyrics are often unintelligible through her thick accent, her tone clearly communicates a tough rock attitude. A noticeable standout, “Black Cat” opens with a low, menacing bassline and hovers at a cool mid-tempo beat, only losing its composure for a quick blast of adrenaline at the heart of the song. “Sometimes” is pure pop bubblegum, with the band members singing along together in a wave of innocent girlishness that makes for a sweet love song. Chock-full of odes to the golden era of ’50s and ’60s rock, including a cover of “Comanche” by Link Wray & the Wraymen, which has a lo-fi muddy flavor, the album ends with a fantastic cover of “Papa Oom Mow Mow.” Raw vocals explode into catcalls and screams before grinding down to a sultry beat and finishing off in a shower of giggles. Everything the genre should be — tough, sexy, cool, and fun — Supersnazz rocks.