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Supersister - Present From Nancy CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.01 | 192 ratings

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Prog Sothoth

Supersister. Yes, I'm one of those who heard of the band, saw the jacket of Present From Nancy, and said "no". It wasn't the name itself because I'm all for some funkified Pam Grier worship, but with those long haired dudes on the cover I knew I wasn't going to get any of that. The photo itself is interesting as well, since it appears that this physical stance the members display on the cover seems to be a necessary pose to find any semblance of comfort while suffering from an unusually severe case of jock itch. Thus I did feel pity for these boys with the oddly titled band name, but not enough to buy the actual album. Morbid curiosity did eventually win though. I had a particularly rough day at work and then, after getting splashed by a passing vehicle on the way home, I knew that I needed Supersister in my life.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but whatever it was, I didn't foresee these guys playing with such virtuosity. By the time the third track "Memories are new" kicks in with its wonky time signatures I was already floored. This is some tight jazz rock, baby. When singing does occur, the vocals favor that pleasant mellow Canterbury delivery combined with lyrics that have little interest in changing the world or getting some fine young woman into bed (unless she's nuts). Supersister also possesses a fulltime flute player as opposed to a guitarist. Yep, they're another of these early prog bands that eschewed guitars in general, and as far as I can tell basically dissolved after awhile with not much of a glorious legacy. I swear, having a guitar in your band is a key point in rock. A few (very few) rockish bands can live long and prosper without one, but most can't, and despite this album really not needing one, it's to no surprise that I knew so little about these guys despite a longtime interest in prog rock.

SUPASISTA DON'T TAKE NO JIBBA JABBA FROM NOONE, but Present From Nancy is a bit uneven at times. It starts off great with some high energy tempos and musicianship, but a bit of a lull settles in around the middle portion of the album until "Mexico" brings back the goodness. As an aside, it's always nice to hear a song named after a country while not plundering its native musical culture, although a breakdown into a Mariachi hat dance would've been hilarious. "Mexico" combines their two styles quite well: the difficult and entrancing jazz patterns and the fun rollicking soft rock & slightly psychedelic attitude to create a nice little mini-epic. Another song I should mention is "Dona Nobis Pacem". Mostly it's a moody sluggish keyboard piece before morphing into carnival music and ending with a loud gong. It's one of those long numbers that really try my patience at times, and every time I give it a chance I wind up yearning for that gong because it's an exciting noise and it signifies the tune's end.

So yeah, I can kinda dig the Supersister. They seem to know what time it is, and definitely do on their next slab of vinyl which improved their capabilities as songwriters. Present From Nancy has some real highpoints and a few borderline miserable lowpoints, but that's the way of a lot of debuts by bands arriving at such a tricky era as the end of the 60s and dawn of the seventies. Early Canterbury from nowhere near Canterbury. If you dig that scene, check it out.

Prog Sothoth | 3/5 |


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