Music Reviews


Autumn Was A Lark


Merge founder and Superchunk main man Mac McCaughan has released a slew of albums under the Portastatic moniker over the years, establishing this mainly solo side project as a viable entity in its own right, offering a more subdued lo-fi take on the melodic power pop of Superchunk. Recorded during preparations for Portastatic’s 2003 tour of US and Europe – the band’s first extended tour ever – Autumn Was A Lark is an unpretentious and whimsical EP so enhanced it starts to resemble a new full-length release from the band, a mere year following the well-received Summer of the Shark.

The “actual” EP kicks off with the wonderful new track “Autumn Got Dark,” one of the band’s most rocking tracks, blurring the lines between Portastatic and Superchunk. “Baby Blue,” a fine version of seminal power pop influence Badfinger, follows. “Growin’ Up” is a faithful rendition of the Springsteen track, and “One for the Road” is the Ronnie Lane track, a Portastatic live favorite. Included here is also a new and more subdued version of “In the Lines” from Summer of the Shark, beautifully underlining the track’s poignant lyrics.

The remaining set is left for acoustic solo versions of Portastatic songs culled from various radio shows and mainly featuring just McCaughan on guitar and vocals. It’s a great setting for him and his music, accentuating the song’s words and McCaughan’s great vocals. Another Springsteen cover – the unlikely “Bobby Jean” – sneaks in, but otherwise, this is all McCaughan material, with highlights including “Clay Cakes,” “A Cunning Latch” and “San Andreas.” This is an excellent reminder of one of the finest songwriters in US indie rock today.

Merge Records:

Recently on Ink 19...

Hell High

Hell High

Screen Reviews

Forgotten ’80s horror film Hell High returns on Blu-ray from Arrow. Phil Bailey reviews.