"I sit out the back underneath the stars, Kick the heads off garden gnomes and I wonder where you are."
Released in 1998, The Supernaturals’ A Tune a Day followed the same trajectory as a large number of sophomore Britpop efforts did, in that it failed to match the commercial impact of the act’s debut, leaving their record label wondering if they had a future with them. What made it stand out from the pack though, was unlike those other second albums, this one was actually much, much better than the debut.
A Tune a Day is very much a hidden gem of an album, and the fact that it failed to find the audience it deserved is more to do with the fact that The Supernaturals’ debut, It Doesn’t Matter Anymore, despite enjoying healthy sales, not having a tremendous amount of replay value. By the time A Tune a Day was released, Britpop was rapidly going out of fashion, and no amount of power pop glory was going to save it.
They gave it a damn good shot though. “I Wasn’t Built to Get Up”, with its memorable chorus and universally understandable message, was exactly the right choice of first single to promote the album, despite the band and record label being spoilt for choice. Songs like “You Take Yourself Too Seriously”, “Idiot”, and “Let Me Know” were glorious slabs of melody-heavy power pop, while album apex “Sheffield Song” confirmed just how far The Supernaturals had developed since their debut.
The thing is, as much as I hold up A Tune a Day as an album that anyone with even a passing interest in guitar-pop should seek out, I know almost nothing about The Supernaturals, other than the fact that I enjoyed their second album much more than their first, they left their record label the year after A Tune a Day was released, and despite a loyal fanbase, they’ve only managed to release two more albums in the last twenty years. Hell, I’ve even had to look up the names of the band members while doing the backup research for this review (James McColl (vocals, guitar), Derek McManus (guitar), Ken McAlpine (keyboards), Mark Guthrie (bass), Alan Tilston (drums), apparently), simply because all I know is that A Tune a Day is a bloody good album of shamelessly feel good power pop that more people should hear, and that’s really all there is to it.
A Tune a Day closes with a pair of huge-sounding open-armed epics, by way of “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”, the obvious album closer, which is then almost entirely eclipsed by the mighty “Everest”, one of the great forgotten album closers of all time, as well as being one of the most glorious and absurdly honest over the top hymns to lost love ever recorded. That’s where A Tune A Day scores highly, as an album of guitar tunes it’s big, it’s simple, and it’s disarmingly honest.