After returning to the scene with the glorious Majesty Shredding album in 2010, Superchunk could have packed it in, again secure in the knowledge that they had made one last power punk noise classic. The album's focus may have been on thoughts and issues relevant to old-timers, but the music was ferocious enough to blow away even the most energetic young band of whippersnappers. Since they didn't give up and did indeed release another album in 2013, I Hate Music, the question is, did they need to? Did they have more to say? Could they maintain the high level of crackling energy and keep the intensity flowing? The answer is a resounding yes, yes, and yes. I Hate Music is just as fresh and powerful as Majesty Shredding, with the same hook-driven songs, fiery performances, and stunning vocals from Mac McCaughan. It's vintage Superchunk from the thrilling twin-guitar attack of McCaughan and Jim Wilbur to Jon Wurster's powerful drumming to Laura Ballance's rock-solid bass foundation. It really feels like they could keep doing this forever, and despite what the album's title may imply, they seem to have enough passion and drive to do exactly that. They charge through the rocket-fueled songs ("Void," "FOH") like a band one-third their age, fill the nostalgic midtempo tracks ("Trees of Barcelona," the beautiful album-ending "What Can We Do") with plenty of melancholy emotion, hit their usual quota of insanely catchy tunes that will have you singing along before they are half over ("Your Theme," "Out of the Sun"), and even show the young hardcore punk revivalists a thing or two on the thrashing "Staying Home." Throughout the album, Mac sounds as invested and charged as ever; he's like a force of nature that can't be stopped and it's cool to hear that his boyish enthusiasm hasn't dimmed one bit. Longtime fans of the band should be super stoked that Superchunk are just as good now as they were way back when, and if for some reason you gave up on them, you should come back now because you're missing some classic indie rock. Both Majesty Shredding and I Hate Music show how a band can grow up gracefully without sacrificing the energy and feeling that youth brings, while also adding some wisdom and emotional heft at the same time. Young bands should take note, old bands should take inspiration, and the rest of us should just be glad that Superchunk keep on rocking with no signs of giving up.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra