Wednesday, August 7, 2002

High Volume

Posted By on Wed, Aug 7, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Superbees guitarist Scott Carlson played in the influential Flint grindcore band Repulsion before attaining toast of the town status in Hollywood with his dirty-glammish garage punk outfit, the Superbees. The ’bees were among the highlights of Badsville, a documentary released late last year about the thriving California underground punknroll scene. And their much-anticipated debut full length is chock fulla snarling fuck you rock ’n’ roll — Motown’s burning black leather riffage meets down-and-dirty desperate living at the foot of Laurel Canyon.

I must not be drinking enough, but while I obviously love the whole Superbees shtick to death, I ain’t spinning this disc as often as expected. I’m really into lyrics and melodies, though, while these guys are into blood, vomit, volume and 1-4-5 riffage — the terrain of teens. I just wanted too much from the ’bees, a band that can confidently kick out the jams with all the bold and snotty intensity of, say, the Makers, Black Halos or old Thee Hypnotics. Thing is, the band lacks the emotional range and lyrical content I can only seem to find these days in Dad Rock, that which seems so popular with snooty white college students (Wilco, Coldplay and Ryan Adams … please!)

I’m looking for the band that has the image and posture and rawness of the ’bees but with substance. Wayne Kramer and Sonny Vincent and Rick from Dragbeat dig the ’bees; so what do I know? I’ll just have to keep listening to the Comatones and the Pretty Things and Toys in the Attic and hope the Superbees’ next record is the Appetite for Destruction/Killer-type mix of flash and pomp and guts and heart I’m yearning to hear.

Still, all you kids who’ve been duped by Strokes-Stripes-Hives-hype oughta make careful study of this CD. There ain’t no hungover acoustic middle-age ballads, but they do manage to kick up some real dust, which can seem like quite a triumph these days. At least The Superbees do know how to rock. But is that enough? To merely rock? Gimme Danger with Content.

E-mail Dimitri Monroe at letters@metrotimes.com.

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