A key part of the ‘90s American indie rock explosion, Superchunk characterised themselves with a sound that melded power pop and DIY punk in equal measure, creating a persona which channeled sometimes dark subject matter through a positive approach. ‘What a Time to Be Alive’ is their eleventh album, and arrives at possibly one of the most politically divisive times in America, not only in their lifespan, but perhaps in the last century.
But not so much a political album, ‘What A Time To Be Alive’ is is more a reaction to public events and the general state of affairs. Written in the fallout of the election of Donald Trump and his first few months in power, it’s a record which wears its heart on its sleeve.
It takes no prisoners musically or lyrically. And, despite the exasperation which the album channels, the tracks never feel too dark and this is largely, in part to the warmth which hides below the rage in Mac McCaughan’s delivery, along with the guitars which remain defiantly loud. It’s raucous, but most importantly triumphant in the face of everything they sing about allowing the light to peer through the darkness.
At it’s best points the album is defiant in the face of a country it’s not in agreement with, however it also leaves us just wanting just a little more.