Isn’t Mac McCaughan’s voice comforting? The Superchunk frontman always makes me feel better.
I often think about his December 2016 single, “Happy New Year (Prince Can’t Die Again)” and how we naively hoped it might not be as bad as we feared. But it was. It was worse. And it’s not getting much better. Not any time soon anyway. But hey, at least Prince can’t die again.
“Circling Around” feels like acceptance that we’re going to be stuck in this loop for a while.
X’s in the carpet of where I walked a path through to the floor
Kinda looks like a target but I’m not getting my hopes up anymore.
Mac says, “Here’s a song for wherever you’re wearing out a path & thinking your thoughts.”
The idea that Portastatic is now Mac McCaughan’s primary creative outlet is abundantly clear on their ninth album, Be Still Please, a record that manages to curtail both his chops as one of indie-rock’s premiere songwriters and as his recent forays into film scoring. Vast and adorably catchy, McCaughan shows tremendous signs of forward movement while traveling down directions that he probably wouldn’t have been able to within the confines of the Superchunk line-up.
Kicking things off with the sweeping orchestration of “Sour Shores” (mp3), the listener can imagine how his former band would have turned the chorus into an Orange amplifier crunch-fest. Instead, it’s the punctuation of strings and acoustic guitars that’s in the forefront. Occasionally, there’s a fair amount of “I wonder if Superchunk will ever get back together…” when he does this, but more often, there are times when you’re positively glad the amplifiers are switched off.