Be Still Please
Label: Merge Records
More than other recent efforts, Portastatic's 11th release brings to mind the spirited tunes that leader Mac McCaughan endowed his former band Superchunk with. McCaughan's wry lyrical sensibility and knack for lofting spirited melodies over brisk tempos make the record one of his brightest in years. On "I'm in Love (With Arthur Dove)," his adoration of the American painter has him hollering, "I'm in love! I'm in love!" at the top of his lungs. But even with the power pop sheen, McCaughan isn't blowing sunshine; the love-in finds balance in darker moments like the down-tempo "Getting Saved" or "You Blanks," where he coyly admits, "I always love to watch the weather, hoping for some disaster."