Super XX Man

Super XX Man

Super XX Man

There’ll Be Diamonds

Tender Loving Empire

Some folks take drugs to escape reality. Others need them to reach that same reality. Super XX Man fits into the second category; they open with the plaintive “I’ve taken too many medications” set to a clean, plunking guitar and drum line. The follow-up cut, “Psychotic Break,” takes us to the beach where the waves speak to them, whispering “burn down your house…” One of the big problems the mentally ill face is that they tend to spend time around others with the same condition, which can’t help. Lead singer Jean Garred explores this facet of the ill mind in “Crazy People” but it’s hard to tell if he’s the doctor, the patient, or some semi-functional hybrid.

If you’re sensing a theme, you’re on the right track. “They’ll be Diamonds” wanders through the landscape of metal illness with a folksy, laid back charm that makes the inevitable tolerable, the incurable the status quo. Neither the material nor style will blast this band to any sort of stardom, but it’s a well-crafted and heartfelt collection presented in a nicely done silk screened jacket illustrated in an Art Spiegelman style. I’d be careful who I bought this disc for; if you or your loved one is on the slippery slope, I can’t predict if this will make them feel better or force that ultimate break with reality. It’s a powerful disc and a moving record.

Tender Loving Empire: www.tenderlovingempire.com

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