Here’s a question for all of you, if I mention Denmark, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For me, its bacon and Carlsberg, for you, it might be different but, I bet very few of you will say great hard rock bands! I remember being a fan of Sweden’s The Electric Boys in the 90’s and really enjoying their brand of funk rock, very few bands play music that hits the right spot and puts a smile on your face, tongue-in-cheek music that rocks hard whilst also playing hard. The last band that gave me that sort of musical intensity with a wry sense of humour was The Four Horseman and their slightly unhinged but, ultimately tragic front-man Frank Star whose 1996 release ‘Gettin’ Pretty Good at Barely Gettin’ By’ is still in my collection and gets regular outings.
Well, to tie things together neatly and make sense of this rambling, I have been listening to Danish hard rock band Supercharger’s latest release ‘Broken Hearts and Fallaparts’ recently and, I have been listening to it a lot. It immediately invokes comparison with the brand of southern, whiskey fuelled, good time music that The Electric Boys and, especially, The Four Horsemen were well known for. The current line-up consists of vocalist Mikkel Neperus, guitarist Thomas Buchwald, drummer Benjamin Funk, keyboardist Lars Rygaard and Karsten Dines Johansen and Dennis Samaras. Supercharger have released two previous albums, Handgrenade Blues (2009) and That’s How We Roll (2011) and Broken Hearts and Fallaparts sees the band return with their brand of swinging rock n’ roll with a touch of metal.
Album opener Like a Pit Bull is hard assed rock n’ roll with an energy and tempo that has reckless written all over it, there is a real feel of southern hard rock about the whole thing and, whilst the track is relentless in its pummelling of your musical senses, it is also very melodic with whiskey soaked vocals. Supercharged takes the tempo down a notch to give a ‘Rick Rubin produced Cult’ sound and vibe to the wild party atmosphere. There is a superior funk and grunge edge to this song as it hammers at your defences, especially on the slow ride guitar solo.
The relatively short running time of each track just gives a headlong flight pace to the whole album and Blood Red Lips burns up the track as it hastens into view. More of that cool southern rock, smoke tinged vocal adding additional undertones of darkness, this is some serious good time rock, furnace hot in its intensity, the scorching solo testament to the quality of the musicians. Hold on Buddy seems to increase the pace even more, if that’s possible! The vocals are a lot more rough and ready and add to the breakneck pace, almost punk rock in its ferocity. The solo is like a white hot sun, fierce and vivid.
Five Hours of Nothing has that great, laid back riff that accompanies all great bar room songs and this track is one good time vibe from start to finish. The smoky vocals and classic piano, drums and guitar all rolling along easy street, you must be one miserable honcho if this track doesn’t have you singing along and grinning from ear to ear. The southern, redneck rock feel carries on with Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, another slice of alcohol soaked, gravel voiced rock with one catchy, sing-along chorus. The deliberately under-produced sound is really addictive and I loved the superb harmonica solo, always a sucker for one of those, followed by a belting guitar solo that gives added gravitas.
You want some more good time rock? well, Supercharger always aim to please, Suzi the Uzi has a muted, circus style organ intro before all hell breaks loose again, the great backing vocals add an additional sense of fun. It’s like a warped version of 50’s rock n’ roll, Bill Hailey on acid if you like. The urgent riff and insistent piano drive the track along at a serious pace, a deranged solo with a lunatic smile the final piece of the puzzle. It’s time for another, brilliant, drinking song. Enter Hungover in Heaven with its muted intro, followed by a booze laden guitar riff that strikes the right chord. Once again, the vocal is pure southern rock, bourbon soaked amidst clouds of cigarette smoke, I can just imagine this becoming a firm favourite at live gigs. The slide guitar solo is a piece of seriously good guitar playing, one more song that ticks the box as far as I’m concerned.
A break neck guitar and piano combination hits you between the eyes and you are introduced, very roughly, to Get What You Deserve, a proper hard rock track, infused with hints of punk and metal to give a frantically paced little gem of a track. The solo could have come straight from the Ramones, it is a fine track and the highlight of the album for this reviewer. A seriously cool guitar riff introduces The Crash and, combined with the previous track, you get two songs that, whilst being subtly different to each other, work extremely well together, a ying and yang moment if you like. The vocals are cleaner on this track, the chorus is very catchy and the guitar is very southern rock orientated, especially on the neat solo, a cool little number.
This ballad free, balls out, fusion of country, railroad rock, southern and hard rock, punk and blues continues its ballad free fun times with From the Gutter, a harder edged, blues heavy, guitar note turns into a heavy rock riff, this song is the very epitome of that sound I hinted at earlier, The Four Horsemen meets The Electric Boys to give a super high energy level and accomplished sound that makes you prick up your ears and listen. The final track on this album, Goodbye Copenhagen is one of those songs that immediately makes me smile, country blues heavy with slide and acoustic guitar perfectly matched. It’s a song sung round a campfire at the end of the night , whiskey bottle passed amongst the protagonists as they all sing along together, a nice finishing touch to the album.
In no way have Supercharger reinvented the wheel but, their take on good time rock n’ roll blended with elements of hard rock and punk to give an intense flavour to proceedings is incredibly addictive. I’m still blasting this great album out at serious decibels, perhaps doing permanent damage to my ear drums along the way. Take a step back, lose the serious expression and have fun, trust me, I have found another reason to remember Denmark!