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Superhero - 2005 Fake Lunar Landing



ARTIST: Superhero
ALBUM: Fake Lunar Landing
LABEL: Fierce/SH1 Music
SERIAL:
YEAR: 2005

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Tim Cheshire - vocals, guitar * Steve Galloway - bass * Mike Uphill - drums, percussion * Jon Darby - guitars * Michael Crawford - piano

TRACK LISTING: 01 Secret Life Of Trees * 02 Big God Theory * 03 Fake Lunar Landing * 04 Goodbye * 05 Perfect Heart * 06 Democracy * 07 Is This The End Of Everything * 08 Don't Let This Day Escape * 09 Time Will Tell * 10 Stand Up

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.superhero.org


Background
Usually the words 'Christian Rock Music' would have many making a swift exit, but for me I have always given this genre a lot of time and respect. However it's been a long time since I have heard something new from this underrated fountain of light. Gone are the days of the Sweet Comfort Band and Allies. Come to think of it the last band to make any impression on me would be the excellent Brett Williams and In Reach. So a recent visit to my local Christian book shop I unearthed this impressive album from Superhero. So I left with the CD in my pocket after making a small contribution to the collection plate. I'm afraid not enough as I noticed that today the shop is closing down, another success for my home town! Actually you are only aware of the Christian connection when you take a glance at the lyrics, and pick out the words 'Lord', 'God' because while listening I did not get the feeling of being hit on the head by a bible thrown in true Stryper fashion. The history of Superhero, well they are from Glasgow, and definitely can't be classed as a band of dour Scotsman. They must live in a particular sunny part of Scotland as the melodies and songs are very special and immensely fresh. This being their second release, which was preceded by their self titled debut in 2004 and before their recent 2009 release, 'The Bicycle Thieves', which I have already picked up, which is just as good. They get around too, touring with the likes of Delirious?, Skillet and Switchfoot and are due to tour the US in 2010. They have the habit of mixing rock with pop, producing songs worthy of a second glance to provide a rewarding listening experience. I have read it many times that previously muted rock bands producing some credible melodies and pop inspired tunes only to find them underwhelming and found many Death Metal bands more capable of provided a catchy interlude. This time Superhero reach the mark, taking aspects of The Feeling and The Hoosiers, yes they may not appear to have the unique individualist traits of these two but still manage to provide varying levels of thrills and urgency. My reckoning is that they are the best band to come from Scotland, since Gun and Slide ventured across the border.


The Songs
The opening of 'Secret Life Of Trees' provides instant gratification with some sweet harmonies, while the speed is increased by 'Big God Theory'. Tim Cheshire has a great voice, quite light, but melodic, maybe somewhat inoffensive but nevertheless suits the music perfectly. This shouldn't be a surprise as he is also the main songwriter. As I have recently undergone some dental work I was grateful that Superhero managed to incorporate the soft moments of Fightstar whilst leaving out the hard centres of the said group, which I found quite palatable. This is most applicable to the title track, while filling in the gaps (cavities?) with The Feeling influence. 'Goodbye' has a more AOR opening, crossed with a touch of Keane, however less miserable than their English counterparts. I am reminded of Steve Balsamo now part of the excellent The Storys which is continued in the excellent 'Time Will Tell', which even manages to add Venice to a list of never ending comparisons. A couple of my favourites songs show two different sides to Superhero, the first being the quiet composed ballad of 'Perfect Heart', where they actually manage to make the acoustic guitar sound interesting and actually are doing something different. Along with the stadium rock anthem of 'Is This The End Of Everything' where they let rip, powered up the electric on the guitar with some superb riffing, but not at the expense of the fine melodies. Then they come across similar to their English cousins, for instance with 'Democrazy' it's like a low brow Muse, which may mean less interesting but easier to listen to (please don't take that as a slight on Muse, it's not meant to be) while on 'Don't Let This Day Escape' they have a slight Oasis connection.


In Summary
Maybe the songs don't always stray too far from the path they have chosen but each contains just enough little changes that makes them attractive and interesting. In fact the songs soon become like old acquaintances and like good friends you don't always need to give them the full attention to fully appreciate them and rely on them. Very melodic pop but enough guitars to suggest they are more rock idol than pop idol. With the belief they obviously have in themselves they are not destined for obscurity.


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