Review: Superlynx ‘4 10’

I think one of the biggest things we’ve lost as humans by always having a smartphone to hand is the need to read crap magazines to pass the time when we’re waiting for an appointment. While crap magazines might not seem an obvious loss to your life, there are some real gems to be had amongst the thousands of pages of drivel some poor sod has written to scrape a wage (that’s not an attempt at self-aware irony by the way, I write this crap for free).

Superlynx '4 10' Artwork
Superlynx ‘4 10’ Artwork

Well, gems might be pushing it, but there are definitely odd things I’ve read in said publications that have stuck with me for far longer than they probably should have. For example: I distinctly remember reading an article several years ago stating that salted caramel is the food item that defines the 2010s; that by mixing two apparently opposed foodstuffs, you end up with something awesome and interesting.

Which serendipitously brings us to Superlynx (I know, it takes a long time to get this slick), self-proclaimed psychedelic doomsters. Now, bands who claim to play psychedelic doom these days are ten a penny and I tend to take the claim with a pinch of salt as it so often just means generic doom dragged out for so long that there is a genuine, albeit slim, chance that you might start to hallucinate from sheer boredom. Superlynx on the other hand start from the doom basics and chuck so many other interesting and contrasting things into the mix that it genuinely does sound like something different.

To cover the basics: Superlynx are a Norwegian four-piece (this album was recorded as a trio, but they’ve since added an additional guitarist) who’ve been around for a decade and have largely escaped my attention until now. I liked their Bandcamp summary which states: ‘The band exceeds genres with their distinct sound and melts doom, psych, meditative atmospheres and heavy droning rock together’ as, unusually for a Bandcamp summary, it seems pretty accurate.

While Into the Sun clearly has doom roots, it roams far into the realms of psychedelia and hypnotic ‘90s alt-rock…

Anyway, I picked this one up for review as, again serendipitously, I’d happened to hear the opening track Into the Sun on Bandcamp a few hours before receiving the list of the latest promos from Shaman Towers and it showcases everything that’s great about this record. Pia Isaksen, bassist and vocalist, is central to the band’s sound, laying down a tar-thick fuzzy groove with the bass and providing dreamy, ethereal vocals that form a perfect counterpoint.

Guitarist Daniel Bakken also plays a major part of setting Superlynx apart from their peers, providing a range of riffs, textural chords and tasteful solos that really elevate the track. While Into the Sun clearly has doom roots, it roams far into the realms of psychedelia and hypnotic ‘90s alt-rock. To top it all off, it has a naggingly catchy chorus and by turns feels summery and blissful, yet dark and mildly threatening.

The pattern is pretty much repeated across the record, and it’s a sound that’s hard to get tired of. The production is excellent, with the bass clear and present under the washes of guitar and rock-solid drumming from Ole Teigen throughout. I’d probably pick Cycle and closer Under Its Spell as album highlights, although it feels streamlined throughout and entirely filler-free.

There’s clearly a ton to like on 4 10 and I’ve always found it to be an enjoyable and absorbing listen, but if I had a criticism, it would be the lack of variety between the tracks. Individually they’re excellent but taken as a whole they do start to sound a bit samey. Apart from The Unknown, which includes an interesting instrumental section that really jumps out for being so different, it’s all a bit one-paced. It’s not a massive deal, but maybe speeding things up here and there could have elevated the record even further.

Anyways, much as I like a minor gripe, 4 10 is an excellent record and Superlynx are very definitely worth checking out.

Label: Argonauta Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Liam Blanc