Superstar | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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As much as one might like the classically styled pop whose revival over the past few years has come as a subset of the alternative boom, the genre can have an archness about it that makes its music a little empty. Problem solved with Superstar, like Teenage Fanclub a Glaswegian pop confectionery, who replace the irony with sincerity of the most irreproachable sort. To make their commitment clear, they carefully unburden the music of anything heavy lyricswise. The last band to shimmer so seriously was Prefab Spout, whose ghosts, along with those of Big Star, haunt this band's self-titled disc. The record isn't bad, though it lacks the earnest meaningfulness of Prefab's Paddy McAloon and the complexity both musical and philosophical of Alex Chilton's Big Star work. But the band is pretty good at tension, stirring up songs like "Will I Ever See You" and the unaccountable eight minutes plus of "Could It Be You" with climactic outros. Singer-producer Joe McAlinden provides ten nice songs, and one more ("Thought for Today") so "Femme Fatale"-esque he might get sued. This is the band's Chicago debut. Saturday, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee; 489-3160.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Perov.

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