Pin It
Animal, vegetable or mineral? Half the fun of Durham trio Scientific Superstar is trying to guess what they are.

Scientific Superstar's Doomed Lucky Day 

(Subdivision 67)

click to enlarge 12.30musreview_scientificsu.gif

Animal, vegetable or mineral? Half the fun of Scientific Superstar is trying to guess what they are. The Durham trio defies traditional genre markers, blending guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and samples in very unusual ways. Add vocalist Junko Berglund, who sings largely in Japanese, and you have perhaps the Triangle's most unconventional group.

Formed nearly three years ago, Scientific Superstar was initially the duo of bassist Thomas Devries and drummer/ sampling star Paul Gallant. They released a self-titled album in 2007 on Subdivision 67 and had already begun work on their latest, Doomed Lucky Day, when they discovered Berglund singing with her other band, Fujiyama Roll. To Gallant she was a revelation, and soon after they recorded the title track's vocals with her, she joined the band as a full-time member.

Their eight-track arrival sidles down deep mid-tempo grooves whose sturdy rhythms and emphasis on electronics suggest Particle, in thrall to the oddball charms of King Missile, Frank Zappa and Shonen Knife. Though generally short (in and out in less than 20 minutes), most of the tracks feature at least a couple of hairpin musical curves and plenty of percolating textures, like a soundtrack for that 3-D pipe-building screensaver. A troika of highlights offer the evidence: "Sam's Quick Stop" opens with 25 seconds of Japanese before settling into a jazz-funk swing, with Gallant channeling his inner John S. Hall as he contemplates the pickled egg-and-beer peddling bounty of Durham's best beer store. With its xylophone-abetted bounce and gauzy washes of synth, the slinky "March of the Unknowns" is a lilting bossa nova lullaby. But "Renewing My Green Card" lands best—inventive electronic curliques underpin an infectious melody along with some very distant but very cool background guitar skronk. Meanwhile, Berglund recounts the title experience—"a super DMV, where the lines are twice as long and the people twice as pissed."

Multiple listens don't put much of a handle on Doomed Lucky Day. That's OK: The ride's fun enough to get back in line and try again.

  • Animal, vegetable or mineral? Half the fun of Durham trio Scientific Superstar is trying to guess what they are.

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Record Review

More by Chris Parker

Facebook Activity

Twitter Activity


Dolph Ramseur, you are so kind. Your comments made me want to cry. Well, yes, cry. Thank you for believing …

by Paula Michalak on Bombadil's Tarpits and Canyonlands reissue (Record Review)

Chemtrails are REAL and not a joke! The Government along with private industry have been testing newer and better ways …

by Barry Cohen on Spider Bags' Frozen Letter and Flesh Wounds' self-titled (Record Review)

Most Read

© 2014 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation