Superchick | Rock What You Got
Superchick breaks the silence -- as they often do -- of a quiet couple of months for new releases in the Christian rock market with their fourth studio album, Rock What You Got.
If you've read my reviews before, you know I kind of revere album four as a signpost in the career of a band, where it should be settling into a professional act and revealing a mature voice after having made an initial splash and then having to crank out follow-ups in the midst of hardscrabble touring. It's usually the album that indicates where the act is going to go.
On the one hand, Superchick, fronted by Hoosier sisters Tricia and Melissa Brock, has definitely refined its sound. In a genre where a lot of sound-alike bands leave you scratching your head and saying, 'Who's that?' when you listen to the radio, the Brocks' vocals over the scrappy distortion of guitarists Dave Ghazarian and Melissa and buoyant, loopy rhythms of their backers is hard to mistake. But under producer, songwriter and keyboardist Max Hsu, that sound has not stagnated. Remaining distinctive, he has slipped in an orchestrated undercurrent that can be as simple as Breathe or grand as Stand in the Rain. And the band as a whole is tight and intriguing. Bassist Matt Dally had a great moment in Pure on the last album, Beauty from Pain, and everyone has moments such as that here.
But in content, Rock sometimes sounds stagnant. The title track, for instance, while catchy, still feels like a retread of Beauty from Pain's Anthem, or several other empowerment sing-alongs in the 'chick catalog. Not that we don't like the anthems, such as Hey Hey, which wins with its tempo and grit. There are several pain ballads that also sound repetitive, particularly Hold and Breathe in the middle of the album. Superchick mines a lot of despair and defiance for its material, but sometimes seems to have tunnel vision.
This is a band that definitely has identified a group it wants to speak to: teens, particularly girls feeling like outcasts and struggling with peer pressure. That's a worthy mission, but heading into album five, hopefully the group will explore a broader range of topics to address. Superchick has a lot going for it. It would be a shame to see the band founder because it's saying the same things over and over again.
Back on the road: Steven Curtis Chapman is set to resume touring next month, with 15 dates scheduled into September, including a string of August baseball game dates with the Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros. Chapman and his family suffered a tragedy last month when their 5-year-old adopted daughter Maria was killed in an accident at their home outside Nashville. Chapman has canceled all of his international dates.
New Tomlin: You may already be hearing Jesus Messiah, Chris Tomlin's new single, on radio, considering its being touted as the most-added multi-format song in Christian radio history. We now have a release date and title for the whole album: Hello Love drops on Sept. 2, and will include several tracks we heard on the latest Passion album, God of This City, including God of This City and Sing, Sing, Sing.
Live Casting Crowns: If you loved Casting Crowns' recent performances at Rupp Arena or Ichthus, you can take the experience home with The Altar and the Door Live CD and DVD, Aug. 19.