Death Alley – Superbia

In the blurb that accompanies Death Alley’s second album, Superbia, singer Douwe Truijens calls its predecessor, Black Magick Boogieland, “the invitation to a parallel universe of the unknown”, and this follow-up “what you get when you accept the invite.” While the sentiment is nice, and the imagery enticing, a better description would be “a ticket to Motorhead” vs “the realisation you’re actually seeing Hawkwind”, and while some will find that a perfectly acceptable trade, others may feel a bit shortchanged.
After three years on the road, the Dutch proto-punks have largely ditched the more jittery, speed-freak abandon that made their 2015 debut so exciting, adopting a more measured, psychedelic and even prog-influenced vibe that rolls where Boogieland rocked. With less urgency in their tanks, and perhaps more smoke in the air, the band seem content to wallow in the build-up rather than live in the explosion, and while it feels like every song has a cracking riff, drum break, or whole-band-freak-out hidden in there somewhere, the filling around it can often feel fairly nondescript. It’s kind of like a basket of plain sponge muffins with £1 coins baked into them: any one of those bog-standard treats will do the trick and quench the sugar-hunger with little to no fanfare, and a little prize to boot, but no one wants to wade through the whole basket just to make a tenner. Superbia is by no means a bad album, but neither does it live up to its name, and while the band’s gentle sway towards more leisurely pastures may well win them a whole new section of the 70s nostalgia crowd, rumours of Death Alley’s re-birth have been greatly exaggerated.

Categories: Album Reviews, Reviews

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