ho is Rueben Kincaide?” asks the inner sleeve to Australia’s Superscope “Girls Smile” single. A better question would be “Who is Superscope?” Apparently they’re Something Great, but I’m not sure why. Not too much info was provided, other than the fact that the trio sports “bouncy rhythms and tight harmonies”. I think that’s becoming the hip catch phrase for indie popsters lately. When in doubt, describe them as bouncy!
Superscope features Brad Cleay on drums, Craig Maclean on bass and background vocals (“Until he left”, notes the notes.), and Kevin Borruso on guitar, vocals, xylophone and paymaster. Still, that doesn’t really break out any real nuggets of truth to work with here. The band’s sound is BIG and they have plenty of that bouncy, buoyant energy but ultimately Superscope comes up as faceless as their scant press work.
So what we have to work with here musically is three songs. These are “Girls Smile”, a cover of Elvis Costello’s “Girls Talk”, and a deluxe “bonus track”, “Never Ever”. I say deluxe because I want to try and stir up some excitement here. After all, the band sounds very excited all throughout “Girls Smile” itself. Unfortunately, they lapse into Hall and Oates Syndrome and start repeating the chorus ad infinitum when they run out of lyrics at the end. Sure, it’s snappy and you can “try and wipe the smile off your face” (Again, from the notable notes!), but at under two minutes long, the song is over too soon and still leaves you wondering just who the hell Superscope is and what do they want with us?
They want us to listen to two more songs, it seems. Well, strike two on the cover of “Girls Talk”. I often enjoy bands who take chances and attempt to cover a tune with their own flair, but this one is a bit of a tragedy. Out goes the quirkiness of the original and in comes a big hook. What, the abstract body twitch groove of Costello’s original wasn’t cool enough? Well, thanks for tarnishing the rep of one of my personal musical heroes. Too many bands getting away with that anymore. Can’t let that continue to happen.
And finally, there’s that super bonus third song “Never Ever”. This is billed as a song “where Superscope mellows out a little with friends including Even’s Ash Naylor who makes a guest appearance on the keyboards”. Who? What? I’m hearing refrains of the Kinks tune “Australia” from Arthur chiming in now. “We’ll surf like they do in the USA.” Sorry, I digress. All this and I’m still wondering what Superscope is all about besides bounciness and trashing Elvis Costello songs. And even if they are “mellowing out” on “Never Ever”, there’s just not enough substance here to warrant on official review. So I’m filing this one under “Unconfirmed” and returning you to your regularly scheduled power pop. Good night and God Bless.
Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/superscope-girls/