After founding the influential Merge Records, the inimitable Superchunk, and the prolific solo project known as Portastatic, Mac McCaughan is finally ready to look back at his career, his bands, and those wonderful four-track recordings that he thought he lost 'lo those many years ago.
McCaughan has given us a glimpse into his archives not to show us a set of products, but to show us a process, and to see Portastatic grow from a 4-track solo side project into an essential indie rock band.
Besides being a friendlier sonic cousin of Indoor Living, Bright Ideas is not unlike Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department, Robert Pollard's 1999 solo album, in that it plays to an indie elder statesman's strengths and may get core fans all frenzied again.
The Summer of the Shark stubbornly refuses to be memorable, becoming less distinct and more elusive with each listen. This perpetual anonymity benefits some songs, allowing the subtle mood swings they chronicle to surprise with each listen.