Hailing from that hotbed of rock bands, Poestenkill, New York, long-time Capital area favorite Super 400 has a dazzling new release, 3 and the Beast. Though the band had a near miss with major-label fame years back (in 1998, the threesome was briefly on Island Records before getting lost in a corporate shuffle), the rockers have proudly persevered. With this roaring new record, it’s about time Super 400 got its due. A stinging, staccato burst of notes announces the urgent opening track, “Emergency,” and they’re off and running. In the anxious, “Push Back Now,” singer/guitarist Kenny Hohman talks through the lyrics with a lilting vibrato, while the dark and delicious “The Leaves” holds a spare verse bolstered by slide guitar slithering around a juicy melody. In “All is Right,” Hohman lets loose in a solo with spectacular results. “One of the Unsinkable” has King’s X overtones, as does “Faces to Sun the Sun,” with its infectious, low-tuned riffs.
Producer Jack Daley (who often can be seen playing bass with Lenny Kravitz) ups the ante here, bringing a subtle pop sensibility and real continuity to the CD. Drummer Joe Daley and bassist Lori Friday capably hold down the fort, but it’s the guitar work that’s really extraordinary. Holman is working at a level higher than everyone around him, yet he never overplays and his catchy riffs and hooks are the lifeblood of the material. www.super400.com.