Here Comes Trouble
September 19, 2015
The Semi Supervillains are a garage rock band from Pittsburgh. They describe their sound as blues rock influenced power pop and compare themselves to such bands as The Strokes, The Black Keys, Cage The Elephant and The Hives. They have performed onstage with the likes of Foxy Shazam, the Soft White Sixties and Living Colour and have released one full length album, Tricks, in 2013.
This EP, Here Comes Trouble, consists of five tracks and starts with the superb “Bad News.” Though their style is certainly blues rock influenced, with a meaty guitar sound and punchy drums, Bad News is first and foremost a great pop song. Lead vocalist Vinnie Longhi has an appealing voice, backed up by some fine harmonies and it builds up nicely to the chorus hook: “Bad news, I think I’m already through with you….”. The guitar solo is sharp and effective, as well as refreshing, with solos a rarity in modern rock.
“Champagne” has a chord progression that wouldn’t have been out of place in the Sixties though its sardonic opening line brings it back to the modern age: “I work in a hospital because its convenient…for when you take my heart and you smash it to pieces…”. It’s another nicely written song where the melancholy lyrics counterbalance the poppy upbeat melodies.
“Shivers” shows their rockier side with a demonic low end guitar riff that Jimmy Page would be proud of and again features some great one liners to put a smile on your face: “I tied a knot in the devil’s tail…”. A truly blistering solo tops off a track that proves this band can tear it up with the best of them and Vinnie Longhi is equally adept at this more visceral style of vocal.
”No Desire” returns to the 60’s vibe of earlier tracks, with Cory Caruso’s driving drums and Doors style organ forming the backdrop for another catchy song, with the insistent hook “You’re building me up just to break me back down…”. This is high quality songwriting to find late into an EP, and bodes well for their second album.
“Stick With The One You Love” is another gem to close with, opening with a lilting descending guitar line. The chorus shines with a great call and response vocal arrangement, the harmonies particularly strong on this song. This is a band in complete control of their sound, with the performances and production perfectly executed.
Overall, this is a thoroughly enjoyable EP from start to finish from a band who manage to breathe new life into what many might consider to be a stale genre. Unlike the rather limited retro blues of The Black Keys. The Semi Supervillains draw from a wider palette and know how to capture its finest elements. Their knowing, dryly humorous lyrics add to the appeal and give it a modern edge, and these five excellent songs show a fine understanding of the songwriting craft.
Don’t miss Semi Supervillains Friday October 30 for their EP release party with The Turbosonics who are also celebrating the release of Tres Gatos Suave and The Rockin’ Bones. The show is at Cattivo in Lawrenceville at 146 44th Street at 9pm. The show is only $5 for 3 awesome bands. Don’t forget your costumes!