Lost all those years ago in the anthemic furor of "Slack Motherfucker" and the unabashed revival of Husker Du's blaring formalism and pogo dancing was the fact that Chapel Hill vets Superchunk are ultimately in service to the hook. Over the course of a half dozen albums their sound has grown consistently more expansive. They've settled into slower material and carefully toyed with familiar structures. They continue to do these things on the new Here's Where the Strings Come In (Merge). But the huge melodies flying out of Mac McCaughan's mouth are what define the band. Sure their sound depends on Jon Wurster's skin pounding, the rumbling bottom of Laura Balance's bass, and the corrosive lattice of guitar raked out by McCaughan and Jim Wilbur, but by now it's obvious that the din exists primarily to celebrate the melody. If Superchunk decide one day to chase after some free-jazz muse or to go techno it would come as quite a shock; they know precisely what they're doing, and even if their music has stopped challenging them, their lyrics have become more thoughtful and they haven't stopped finding those hooks. Seaweed, who opened for Superchunk's Chicago debut five years ago, and Guv'ner also play. Saturday, 7 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Claire Ashby.