“Supernatural superserious”

Kelly Fraser
COURTESY OF RCA
Kelly Fraser
COURTESY OF WARNER BROTHERS

R.E.M.

3 out of 5 stars.

Every time R.E.M. releases anything, it’s hard not to hope that they’ll finally reclaim some of the brilliance that’s been mostly absent since 1996’s New Adventures in Hi-Fi. “Supernatural Superserious” doesn’t really make it, but with its jangly guitars and super-catchy melody, it’s immediately loveable. The sound harkens back to R.E.M.’s storied IRS Records years, while at the same time, the super-clean guitars of the intro could stand to be a little less, well, clean. Lyrically, Michael Stipe still seems a bit too attracted to platitudes, but the song is still fun and works pretty well.

“Gang of Thieves”

State Radio

3 out of 5 stars.

The new single from Chad Urmston’s band State Radio rocks surprisingly hard. “Gang of Thieves” has a sort of piano-punk feel, with it’s swingin’ beat and rapidly-delivered vocals. Unfortunately, Urmston’s politics are a bit dated, making what should be biting “war for oil” lyrics feel kind of contrived. At the beginning of 2008, it’s unlikely that we really needed yet another indictment of the Bush administration – Urmston’s not wrong, he’s just kind of late. Nonetheless, “Gang of Thieves” is an undeniably catchy single that should rant its way into the hearts of hippie-punks everywhere.

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