SuperstarAfter a week's worth of bashing The Brit Box, why don't we take a moment and spotlight something the much-maligned compilers of the set did right. Among all the dodgy choices (Eugenius instead of the Vaselines!) and the long list of omissions (where the !&#% is Chapterhouse? Make that Adorable... or the Bardots!), there is a little glimmer of happiness: the inclusion of Superstar. Sure, you might look at them, think "Gee, I saw their record in the cut-out bin," and file them back in the dodgy choice column, but that‘s only because you probably never actually heard them.

Here, take a listen now to "The Reason Why":

Nice, isn't it?

Formed in 1992 by Joe McAlinden, who had served time with the Groovy Little Numbers and the BMX Bandits (another glaring omission), and was often called upon by friends like Teenage Fanclub to help out with string and horn arrangements, the group's lush and perfectly arranged sound calls to mind Todd Rundgren or Badfinger, and McAlinden's soaring, achingly pure vocals make you think of angels floating through little fluffy clouds. After a very good EP, the band released their beautiful and sadly overlooked debut album in 1994. Check the Allmusic review for some rabid hyperbole!

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In the age of lad rock, a record as refined and innocent-sounding as Superstar was doomed to fail. A spot or two of TFC-styled choogling certainly wasn't enough to cause many units to shift and fans of indie-pop wrote them off as too slick and professional. If you do the math, that left them with roughly 10 fans worldwide. After two albums that actually found the band making some headway in the popularity sweepstakes -- thanks to the success of the song "Superstar" -- the band packed it in. McAlinden recently resurfaced in the adult-pop duo Nom and is currently recording a solo album, demos for which are on his MySpace page. Both projects are def worth checking out.