Changin' Tires on the Road to Ruin

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Some bands have more worthwhile songs than places to put them, and this seems to be the case with Knoxville, TN's guitar pop powerhouse Superdrag. Given the steady stream of singles the band has cranked out during their lifespan, John Davis and his bandmates clearly generate more material than they can use up at the rate they record albums, and Changin' Tires on the Road to Ruin is a collection of demo tapes and live recordings that offers alternate versions of five tunes from earlier Superdrag albums, and nine songs that have never made it onto a long-player before. Most of the tracks on Changin' Tires were recorded on cassette, so the production lacks something in the way of gloss, but as a set of songs, this is as consistently enjoyable as anything Superdrag have put out since Regretfully Yours in 1996, and "Here We Come," "She Says," "I Am Incinerator" and "Relocate My Satellites" deliver the kind of high quality melodies and high octane hooks that made this act a favorite in the first place. And despite the no-frills recording, the band sounds tight and forceful when they turn up the amps in their demo studio; most of these performances recall the straightforward energy of a good live tape than anything else, and the final two tracks, recorded during a 2003 gig at Nashville's Exit/In, offer further evidence of how good Superdrag can be when they hit their stride in front of an enthusiastic audience. Some listeners not already hip to Superdrag might be put off by the scratchy lo-fi sound of a few tracks, but fans will have much less trouble listening through the flawed audio (which is actually pretty good most of the time) and enjoying the great songs and estimable energy at the heart of these 14 tracks.

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