Okay, a new Superpunk album has been released. I was asked to comment on this and I shall gladly do so. “Einmal Superpunk, bitte!” (in English that’d be “One Portion of Superpunk, Please!”) is the title of the record and it is served with 13 Superpunk tracks.
A seemingly endless three years have passed since the infamous forerunner album “Wasser marsch!” came out. But there’s a reason for that: the gentlemen from this Hamburg-Munich formation are not that young anymore and, after all, they have a few other things to do as well. Anyway, they had to play about 150 concerts, and that takes some doing.
It might’ve seemed like a long wait for friends of the band, but the quintet made good use of the time: they’ve become more easy-going, which might be as a result of playing live so much. They suddenly noticed they could play whatever they wanted. This should by no means be taken for granted. Musicians usually try playing their own favourite kinds of music, fail, and, in the best case, manage to create something new. The history of pop music is full of misunderstandings like this. The Stones wanted to be a blues band, and the Beatles aspired to be a rock & roll band. The Who were most familiar with R&B. The same can be said of the Kinks. But all of them were wide of the mark and, in turn, created something sensationally new.
Superpunk have always loved soul. However, since none of them knew how to play that sort of thing when they started up, Superpunk were initially a pretty loud garage punk band. It was only on the second album that they started playing this absolutely unique mixture of Northern Soul and beat punk. This was complemented by lyrics that were exceptional in their poetic frankness: little stories about people and conditions, sometimes as an outcry, at times sombrely reflective. And always simple. That sounded new and the people liked it.
Of course, the journalists who like anything that comes from Hamburg because it appears to be so wonderfully interwoven, intricate and highbrow, were a little taken aback and kept wanting to see the greater picture that wasn’t really there. Socialism and all that. It’s not as if Superpunk’s view of the world wasn’t based on values such as freedom and justice in solidarity, but those looking for political awareness and the like did so in vain.
This, and the band’s joy of playing music that they love, is what makes Superpunk so fantastic. There’s no complicated waffling, but plenty of clarity. Just because something’s formulated in a straightforward way, that doesn’t necessarily have to mean it’s stupid.
So what does this new album offer? Northern Soul inspired music. On the one hand, because the boys like this type of music best. And on the other hand, because they’re finally able to play this kind of music. Of course you can also discern other heroes, if you choose to do so, be it Stax soul or bands from the 80’s, everyone can probably come up with something. The lyrics are even more personal and, therefore, also deeper than on the debut album “A bisserl was geht immer” or the follow-up “Wasser marsch!”.
Rocko Schamoni about “Einmal Superpunk, bitte!”
We experienced the same sense of energy and power when Dexy’s “Too Rye Ay” flew across the astonished north German punk firmament, and we thought, “Ah – so that’s okay too – I can still be a punk and yet allow myself to get swept away by this wave of uptempo melody, out onto the Baltic Sea amongst all those “Flock-of-Seagulls pop surfers”.
On “Einmal Superpunk, bitte!” (incidentally, my first own punk fanzine in 1983 was called “Bitte einmal Pissscheiße”, which translates into something like “One Portion of Piss Shit, Please”...strange…) we are confronted with uplifting soul-power feelings and an unpretentious mod-punk attitude, no bragging, and yet a life in jeans and polo shirts, music for the soul that doesn’t pander to any new rock lifestyle with trucker baseball caps and DJ Beeps & Clonx To Go.
The soundtrack for a life with the Spackofanten. The Aphex Twin of Northern Soul strike back. The skinny and austere Mr “Girls Karsten” and his Top Old Boys manage to create an illusion of a world with alcohol and cigarettes without any alcohol and cigarettes. It’s the sort of music you have to inhale. The smoke goes straight to your soul. Smoke some soul. Fat burner.