You may have already known that Supersystem formerly recorded under the name El Guapo when they were on the Dischord label, but had to change their name because of possible legal ramifications (fuckin’ lawyers) and the band’s conveniently timed dislike of the original name. Veering away from El Guapo’s freaky post rock sound, Supersystem were born again in a way as dance punkers when they cut their first record Always Never Again last spring as they came off as little fish in the big pond of the neo new wavers. Back now with their sophomore release A Million Microphones, Supersystem is just plain super, with something molded from their own clay rather than sounding like it came off of a McNugget assembly line.
A Million Microphones not only has enough cowbell for Christopher Walken to get off on but sees Supersystem churning out some mostly funk oriented acid house layered with squelching techno and thumping grooves. The disco breakbeat of “Not the Concept” adds a jaded sensibility to what is considered as “jaunty” while the dubbier numbers like “The Lake” and “Joy” and the Asian glimmer of “Eagles Fleeing Eyries” exhibit the amount of worldly spice which has somehow gotten into Supersystem’s system in the past year.
A Million Microphones is punchy in how the beats just hit you, yet the vocals seem haughty at times, like this was an album on which the Pet Shop Boys were given a makeover by the DFA. The bassy “The Only Way It’s Ever Been Done” probably gives the impression that it is the most digestible form of the recent, and questionable, reggaeton explosion without someone jabbering “ummm da bum dap um da bumbaclot” over and over again and some “olé” worthy Latin sizzles with “Prophets.”
Did Bernie Worrell and Kraftwerk have a baby? No, but with “The City,” one might assume that they did, what with its African polyrhythms that are crossbred with gloopy Krautrock. A Million Microphones may not be groundbreaking in any sort of way but Supersystem seems to have added some freshness to genre headed quickly toward stale.