Insurgence Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Last December, I was invited to see Enuff Z'Nuff perform in a small bar in Mundelein -- not too far from where I live. While I always welcome the chance to see the band perform (as well as to connect with Chip Z'Nuff again - one of the nicest people in the business), I decided to use the evening to scope out the other bands on the bill as well. While many of the notes I write don't often make it into reviews, they help me later on to see where a band might have come from.

The middle band on the bill, Supermint, was hanging around the area by the stage, keeping to themselves. And while I've been in this business for a while, I don't always feel comfortable approaching a band on a "cold call" offering to review a demo or indie disc -- 'cause let's be honest, they don't know me from Adam. I did give my card to the merchandising person, and he put me in touch with drummer Randi Scott, leading to today's review.

Okay, the reader might now be thinking, enough with the Jack Kerouac my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 On The Road tales... what about Supermint's self-titled debut? Well, there's a reason that Enuff Z'Nuff have taken these guys under their wings. While each band sports their own influences, they are cut from the same cloth, and while Supermint is still developing as a group, I hear a lot of promise.

There is a fundamental difference between Supermint and Enuff Z'Nuff. Readers may remember in our review of 10 that I said Enuff Z'Nuff has more of a Badfinger influence. Supermint gladly wears the badge of being Cheap Trick and Beatles fans on their collective sleeves, heard in the melodies they play and the harmonies brought to the vocals.

One side note about this disc in comparison to their live show. I remember writing in my notes that bassist Steve Mitchell was too high in the mix, his 12-string bass work drowining out many other aspects of the band. On disc, I'd have killed to have heard Mitchell's bass work moved up - or, for that matter, more usage of the 12-string bass. Vocalist/guitarist Kerry Ridout and guitarist Danny Weymouth are mixed well, and both show their talents often. (Ridout even sounds a bit like Robin Zander at times.)

As for the songs themselves, this is where Supermint is still honing their craft. Tracks like "What's Going On?," "Shouldn't It Feel Good" (which sounds like it could have easily come from the pen of Rick Nielsen) and "Ordinary Mary" are astounding pieces of work that, if there were a radio god, would be commandering the airwaves quicker than Al Haig taking charge after Reagan got shot in '81. The middle of the disc sags a bit, with tracks like "Perfect Of Red" and "I Need Everything" not being able to maintain the energy level of the opening three. Things pick up at the end of the disc in songs like "Sad" and "All That I Can Do," fortunately for the band.

And I'm not going to steam over a few weak tracks, especially when so much promise is heard in the excellent ones. Supermint is still very much a young band, and they're working hard at sharpening their skills to razor precision. (Touring with C.C. DeVille's side project Samantha 7 should be an eye-opener for them.) So, on the few ebbs, I'm willing to cut Supermint some slack.

I might have gone out on that cold December night to see a friend, but Supermint showed me there were many more friends to be made. If this disc is evidence of what's to come for them, their popularity circle will soon be wider than anyone could have imagined.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Insurgence Records, and is used for informational purposes only.