Super Enthusiast

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During the five-year build-up to their first album, Long Island combo Macseal used a series of EPs and singles to hone their signature blend of warm-hearted, melodic indie rock that detours through emo and pop-punk's outer fringes while also leaning into the band's inherent math-rock tendencies. While that may sound like a rather full plate, there's a casual charm to how the quartet make it all hang together on Super Enthusiast, their full-length debut for 6131 Records. Those years of D.I.Y. recording, releasing, and touring seem to have paid off as they deliver a focused effort whose parallel traits of laid-back humility and musical confidence make it likeable from the start. Out of the gates, "Lucky for Some" is a standout with a classic power pop feel, sweet harmony stacks, and enough dynamic shifts to keep it fresh. Likewise, "Without a Trace" is another memorable cut with a unique bass-led melody line and a punchy, tuneful chorus. These two tracks alone feel like a significant maturation of Macseal's style. Fortunately, there is plenty more to like among Super Enthusiast's 11 tracks, from the energetic math-punk of "Nothing's a Sure Thing, Shelly" to the world-weary tone of the uniquely built "Graduating Steps" and the brightly stuttering closer "Safe Spot." The nimble interplay between guitarists Ryan Bartlett and Cole Szilagyi is evenly matched by bassist Justin Canavaciol and drummer Francesca Impastato's charismatic output, with the full quartet gelling in a way that is technically impressive without alienating listeners or playing over each other. In spite of their obvious chops, this foursome manage to serve their songs well on this strong debut.

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