Like most of New Orleans' inhabitants, the members of stoner rock trio Suplecs suffered a slew of personal traumas in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, almost collectively biting the big one in the process. But they resolutely hung on, reunited, rebuilt, and finally emerged to fight another day some five years later, foisting their fourth album, 2010's Mad Oak Redoux, in the process. Not only that, they also proceeded to chronicle their experiences in this latest batch of songs, including, among others, "Stand Alone," "2x4," "Coward," and "FEMA Man," boasting the clever verse "I just thank the good Lord above I got good friends in Austin, Texas." This development is quite the eye-opener for a band previously known for singing obsessively about professional wrestling and getting baked out of their minds. Of course, musically speaking, Suplecs have lost none of their thunderous riffage ("Tried to Build an Engine"), frequently frenzied tempos ("Stepped On"), or their menacing, "whatchu lookin' at" glare ("Switchblade"), but they have broadened into significantly more melodic territory with cuts like "Once Again" and "World's on Fire" while bringing very unexpected alternative rock nuances and hooks to the excellent "In Your Shadow." And for a band whose only sin early in their career was sonic predictability (even though the songwriting itself was always top-shelf), these slight alterations across the board only help open new doors for Suplecs to take their career in the future. Here's hoping they don't have to endure another major natural disaster in order to do so.
Mad Oak Redoux Review
by Eduardo Rivadavia