superman

The Superman Revenge Squad BandThere Is Nothing More Frightening Than The Passing Of Time

by Aled Schell

Some band’s back-stories are simple; musician meets musicians, writes, tours, and repeats. The road which has brought ‘There is Nothing More Frightening Than The Passing Of Time’ to our stereos is all the more eventful. It starts late in 2009 with the forming of the brilliant Audio Antihero label, which was created with the sole intention of releasing the lost debut of long disbanded outfit Nosferatu D2 – a duo formed of brothers Ben and Adam Parker – which had yet to receive a proper release. Following it’s re-birth the band gained cult status and acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork and Drowned in Sound, with the LP’s unconventional retrospective release also receiving the attention of BBC 6Music.

Following buzz from blogs and music press alike, Ben Parker began solo work under the moniker, Superman Revenge Squad; releasing several further records, to niche success. But stories have a habit of going full circle. In 2013 brother and former band mate, Adam Parker, joined the band, who, along with an ensemble of other musicians, formed The Superman Revenge Squad Band, which led to the release of ‘There is Nothing More Frightening than the Passing of Time.’

From the opening passage of lead track, ‘Lately I’ve Found Myself Regressing’, you get a grasp of everything that this record is about: “I like to Google myself to prove that I exist, I’ve done it fifty times today it’s pretty hard to resist, there might be something written some where saying I’m an adequate lyricist – or something better.” Humorous, self-deprecating lyrics, intelligently delivered, wrapped up in a web of popular culture.

On early tracks ‘Kendo Nagasaki’ and ‘Flavor Flav’ we hear Parker addressing love and loss in a way befitting his songwriting. On the former he uses the guise of the Japanese wrestler who used the name, ‘Nagasaki’, to describe the devastation of his world following a break-up, “looking back over a life time just spent swaying in the ring, in a mask, feeling ashamed”. ‘Flavor Flav’ tackles another side of relationships; the absolute reliance on someone that you couldn’t possible be without. Like much of the record it makes serious themes feel lighter and more relatable through the use of popular culture and detailed, lived-in metaphor; this time in the form of Flavor Flav, and REM post 1992.

Though the album will be widely acknowledged for its lyrical content (and justifiably so), it’s an album which harnesses subtle, yet brilliant musicianship. On ‘A Funny Thing You Said’ the lo-fi acoustic guitar that characterizes early tracks is reinforced with droning accordion, pulsing drums and lush belts of sweeping sax. Tender album highlight, ‘We’re Here For Duration’, is built around delicately picked guitars, with soaring strings creating an affecting wall of sound as the track builds towards it’s emotional end.

There’s something so special about ‘There is Nothing More Frightening…’ It’s a record which deserves wider recognition, but will likely hold a special place only to those few fortunate enough to have come into contact with it. I for one am truly glad that I am one of those. I’ll leave the final words down to the band themselves: “If that sounds like a cliché, that’s cause I’m grasping for a cliché, because sometimes only a cliché can convey the things we want to say…”

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