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Supremium is the brainchild of songwriter and producer Bruce Witkin, who after working as a hired hand for the likes of Adam Ant and Vanessa Paradis decided to put together a band of his own to satisfy his power pop instincts. Tales recycles nearly all the material from the band's earlier self-released album, Lucky, and shows that Witkin has a flair for Raspberries-style tunes, whose buoyant hooks can support the weight of the crunchy guitar leads of former Romantics axeman Coz Canler. However, Witkin's desire for a polished and professional product is nearly his downfall on Tales; the production is just a little too smooth for its own good, and the arrangements (and Witkin's sometimes-histrionic vocals) tend to flatten out the tunes into standard-issue rock numbers in the manner of Matchbox Twenty or Third Eye Blind. Which is a shame, since if one is willing to look past the too-slick surfaces, it's obvious Supremium has the talent and potential for better things; the straightforward-sounding opening cuts, "If Not for You" and "What She Needs," are fine, punchy numbers, and it's hard not to have a soft spot for a guy who declares the girl of his dreams would love basic cable and Burger King (on the witty "The Girl I Want"). What Supremium needs is a producer who can strip a few layers of varnish from the band's sound and let Witkin's songs shine through with a cleaner approach in the studio (Mitch Easter, perhaps?).

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