Album Review: Acoustic Foolish by Superchunk (2019) (Merge Records)


The original Foolish is the magnum opus of Superchunk. There I have said it. Not for me the unobtrusive ‘zine platitudes’ about ‘ooohhh all their albums are as good as the next’…I will just keep it exactly as real as the actual facts convey, in that Foolish is, by far the best.

As such there is no more appropriate way of celebrating the longevity of this Chapel Hill (North Carolina) four piece (25 years since the original Foolish was released), than releasing an acoustic version the glorious album and inviting half a dozen indie demi-gods, such as  Peter Holsapple (The dB’s), Jenn Wasner (Wye OakOwen Pallett, Allison Crutchfield (Swearin’), Matt Douglas (The Mountain Goats) to assist in making the album exceed even it’s own, natural potential.

SuperchunkBandAcoustic Foolish has a bedrock of quality jangly guitar-pop, with tracks like Why Do You Have To Put A Date on Everything, Keeping Track and Kicked In providing a foundation upon which the album can become more expansive and ultimately thrive in slightly more contradistinctive directions.

Leading these is the albums true stand out, Like A Fool (see below), In a Stage Whisper and Driveway to Driveway which take a journey 75% of the way to sophisti-pop nirvana, before eventually being driven all the back again by the vocals of Mac McCaughan that allude towards the slightest of disparate mania. It’s all vocally Bright Eyes without any obvious depression.

However, the best tracks of the album should be catalogued under ‘acoustic fuzz’ and probably will be in the sheer undiluted sadness of my media player categories. The First Part (see below), Water Wings and Stretched Out all dip persistent toes in fuzz pop waters without fully immersing themselves. In this instance such control, whilst usually assigned to ‘safe’, works perfectly.

Superchunk have been a part of my life since before I got married, since before I had kids, since a less than brilliant football career ended with a knee wrapped around some thugs studs and from a time when grey hairs were something only ‘olds’ got…this album reminds me why I loved them for so long!

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