Tuesday, May 5, 2015

REVIEW: Mac McCaughan - Non Believers

Mac McCaughan has been providing listeners with thrilling music for almost three decades in under several band banners -- most notably Superchunk and Portastatic -- but today's release of Non Believers marks his first album under his own name.  I don't know what factors prompted him to make this album the first, but he couldn't have chosen better.

To me, Mac has always had a punk rock heart.  But for Non Believers he works with cleaner guitar tones and synths.  He can still raise a righteous ruckus, as evidenced by the excellent "Box Batteries " (stream below), but overall the instrumental fury is dialed back, with a template that is more post punk and new wave, with echoing machine drums and subtly layered sounds.  The choice works well, as it gives more space to themes such as nostalgia, alienation, and melancholy.  His weathered voice also benefits, as his punk shouts shift well to experienced croons.  A gifted songwriter throughout his career, Mac's ten songs here may be his best and most consistent collection, bursting with warmth, sentiment and understanding.

This album should be of great interest to fans of Mac and his other projects, but in my view its worth isn't tied to the past.  I think it is an excellent album that would be welcome in the music rotation of any fan of indie rock.

In Mac, I am a believer.

Mac's Twitter
Merge Records' Facebook
Merge Records page for Non Believers
Merge Records

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