Superchunk, 'Leaves in the Gutter' (Merge)

Critical Mass
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by Steve Kandell

The arrival of the first new collection of Superchunk songs in eight years is a modest milestone, befitting a band whose contributions to the bedrock and benchmarks of indie culture far outstrip their name recognition. While the 'Chunk's latter albums, culminating in 2001's Here's to Shutting Up, were increasingly ornate and nuanced, augmented by horns, organs, and reverent hushes, the four romps here (capped by an acoustic reprise of the ripsnorting opener "Learned to Surf") are gloriously unfussy and joyful; they could have fallen off the back of the Foolish truck in 1994, save for the relatively forgettable "Screw It Up." Warning: May induce repeated pogoing.

Listen: Superchunk, "Misfits and Mistakes"(DOWNLOAD MP3)

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