With the re-release, remastering, and repurchasing of each and every Superchunk album imminent, it only seems fitting to celebrate what is possibly the most Superchunkian song ever and the only one to receive acknowledgement from rock critics Travis & Bob-Head, “Package Thief.”
“Package Thief turned up in the middle of the band’s now classic 1994 effort, On the Mouth. Still in their prime and looking to followup the near perfect No Pocky For Kitty, Superchunk took a serious look at their sound and perfected and progressed it. Now, while the more out there moments of On the Mouth may fail to live up to the more ambitious successes of later records, the parts where the band plays to their strengths remain some of their most wildly infectious and well written efforts. “Package Thief,” perhaps, standing tall as the most successful.
Now, since no band is an island unto themselves–I think that expression, if that actually is an expression, fits here–, it took numerous components to lock the pieces together. First, after years of what should have been blown vocal chords and several sprained angles, signer and pogo artist extraordinare Mac McCaughan belts out some of his strongest vocals and finely tuned melodies. This, backed by the excited every beat snare hit of new drummer Jon Wurster, was perfectly suited for the garage ready production from Rocket from the Crypt/Hot Snakes head honcho turned producer John Reis. The record’s raw sound kept the band’s volume and noise to a sustained fever pitch, while the band’s continued progression as a indie-pop masterminds made that noise listenable.
“Package Thief” is Superchunk in a nut shell: catchy, bouncy, and noisy. The lyrics, rushed and occasionally non-sensical, are a playful match for the song’s looping guitar leads and bouncy rhythms. It might come off a record that’s rarely as consistent as their other efforts, but at least they received the honor of being crowned considered fart knockers for nailing this one.