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SUPERSUCKERS — GET THE HELL

Left-field covers highlight a hit-and-miss album

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In their 25 years as one of the country’s most consistent punk acts, the Supersuckers have always known how to be aggressive and keep it light, equally adept at straight-up punk anthems and alt-country toe-tappers. With Get the Hell (Acetate), the Seattle band’s first studio album in five years, the Supersuckers stick to what they do best, but the end result falls short of the group’s best efforts.

On the album’s title track, singer Eddie Spaghetti channels his inner Lemmy Kilmister with a gravelly vocal and some punchy accents that are a staple of the band’s punk attack. The song serves as a good establishing point for the album, but immediately thereafter, Get the Hell falls into a rut consisting of basic and unimaginative hard rockers. The chorus in “Something About You” is fun enough, and while it has the strength to stick in a listener’s head, the trite verses and generic backbeat make it a throwaway.

“F*** Up” is vulgar for no particular reason other than to be vulgar, its only saving grace being a cool, underlying harmonica that recalls some of the band’s country tracks from 1997’s Must’ve Been High album. The excellent opening riff in “High Tonight” shows promise but turns out to be a red herring and can’t compensate for the weak and predictable lyrics.

The Supersuckers fare much better on the album’s two left-field covers. Track six is an impressive reworking of Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again” — the lean-and-mean approach totally flips the moody song completely around and brings out an edge that’s lacking in the early part of Get the Hell. The other cover is an update of disgraced ’70s glam rocker Gary Glitter’s “Rock On,” and the Supersuckers give a total effort and really capture the song’s essence with their hard-rock guitars and a great thumping drumbeat from “Captain” Chris Von Streicher.

As for the rest of the album, there are pieces of good songs but nothing that satisfies from start to finish. For example, “Bein’ Bad” has potential, but ultimately the guitars are not as dangerous as they intend to be, and they make the song sound like 1980s hair-metal filler.

So, despite its flaws, was Get the Hell worth the five-year wait? Maybe for the band’s hardcore fans, but newbies might be better off cherry-picking the title track and the cover songs from iTunes and checking out 1999’s The Evil Powers of Rock ’n’ Roll in its entirety instead.

— By Mike Madden