Album Reviews: Bright Ideas by PortastaticWith Superchunk on hiatus, it appears Mac McCaughan (Merge Records co-founder and Superchunk vocalist/guitarist) has poured his heart, soul and best material into his other big project, Portastatic. The result is Bright Ideas, the best Portastatic record to date. Whereas Portastatic always felt a little more like a side project or after-thought in the past, this collection of tunes rocks with authority and aggressiveness.
There's a newfound confidence in the wonderful words of "White Wave" and "I Wanna Know Girls" (a song of the year contender), two of the best on display here. Gone is most of the electronic keyboard noodling and experimentalism of previous Portatstatic. It's an interesting and unexpected left turn in the current climate of electronica excellence to hear Mac returning to his Superchunky rock. One wonders if these songs would have been Superchunk's next if they weren't taking a rest. Either way, Mac makes the most of them here and really raises the bar for Portastatic.
The moments that shine brightest here are reminiscent of the brilliance of Come Pick Me Up, the best Superchunk record. It's a pleasure to hear one of the godfathers of indie rock still, well, rocking. - Jeff Kamin
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