American Supreme

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Is American Supreme -- the first Suicide album in a decade -- an update, a return to form? Yes and no. Those who hang on Alan Vega's every streetwise grunt and growl will doubtlessly be pleased as punch with the results, as will anyone who hasn't heard any music that has been recorded since 1990. Perhaps the strangest twist about this record is how much of it sounds more crude and antiquated than the duo's first two albums, which were released over 20 years prior to this one. Those two albums did what few groups had done prior, and this one recycles hip-hop and dance beats that were recycled many times over by the mid-'90s. The opening "Television Executions" is the worst culprit, using turntable scratches and a bounding late-'80s funk groove that the Red Hot Chili Peppers would scoff at. It would be expecting far too much for Vega and Martin Rev to deliver something as revolutionary as those first two albums. A more realistic hope would be for this album to not be an embarrassment. Thankfully, due to Vega's sharp-as-ever observations (he still sounds ornery and underfed), they narrowly escape that pitfall.

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