Super Bummer, Self Titled — Album review

Review by Duane Davis

The history of loving someone is necessarily going to be a history of sorrow: it’s as true as death and taxes: nothing lasts, not love, not life, not you, not me.

The veteran Denver four-piece Super Bummer just released a collection of 11 lovely and loving songs that, each and every one of them, will, while wearing its own heart on its sleeve, attempt to tear your heart out and leave it broken and sobbing.

If that sounds like fun, au contraire mon ami: it isn’t.

And still, you will want to listen to it again and again. In this sorrow, this journal of loss and longing, is the triumph not of hope but of something far more basic and grim: wry and rueful, these are the songs the Tin Man might sing at an open mike in a coffee house on the seedy end of the Emerald City the night he pawned his heart for a quart of gin and a beat up $10 guitar.

This isn’t healing. This is getting to the next day. You’ve been there. I’ve been there. We’ll both be there again tomorrow. And the day after that, someone we love now will be there and we won’t.

The sound is spare and bare, Pavement in their quieter moments, Jonathan Richman when the sun doesn’t shine and the Roadrunner falls off the turnpike into a ditch in slow motion. The sound shimmers, each song is a mirage of closure, of ending. But the singer is lost in a haze of longing and despair.

Here, goodbye is the word that can never be said but is the echo of every word that is said.

And their name. Yes, it is terrible. ‘Super Bummer’ — ironic or sincere — risks a descent into Terminal Twee. How the band overcomes this problem was stunningly demonstrated in a YouTube video for their performance of ‘Heartburn’ at Denver’s Black Buzzard. In longjohn pajamas and Santa hats, they sing a song that is a gathering together of moments of a terrifying insignificance: insignificant because they are lost in the dark of human longing. A feeling that is utterly solitary despite its universal presence in our lives. This unrequited or lost love object is scarcely more common to the human than the presence of a beating heart — to be alive is to be longing.

There is no origin story for these losses: you were born and here we are: lost, cleaved, left.

Listen to them here:

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