Postage – The Best of Supergroove
The compilation Postage distils the legacy of New Zealand’s Supergroove into one disc. Supergroove barely made an impact outside of their home country, but in 1994 they were inescapably huge in New Zealand. Their blend of hip hop, funk, and metal was arguably a little behind the curve by the time their first album, Traction, was released in 1994; bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More, and Rage Against the Machine had enjoyed success with the template earlier in the decade.
But Supergroove bought enough originality and personality to stand out. Notable features of the band included strong musicianship; bassist Joe Lonie is particularly accomplished. The group’s most successful line-up blended two vocalists with distinctive styles; the smooth Che Fu, went on the enjoy solo success in hip hop and R&B, while Karl Steven is nervy and hyperactive. Supergroove unabashedly made party music, but without sacrificing intelligence; there’s enough substance it’s not surprising that group leader Steven went onto complete a Ph. D in Philosophy
The compilation covers their career from the early singles, their debut album Traction, their EP Traction, and 1996’s sophomore effort Backspacer, but the basis of their legacy is the run of early singles leading up to, and stemming from, Traction. Songs like the metallic riffs of ‘Scorpio Girls’ and ‘You Freak Me’, ‘Sitting Inside My Head’, which uses the odd couple vocals of Che Fu and Karl Steven effectively, and the infectious ‘Can’t Get Enough’. The Tractor EP continued the excellence with ‘The Next Time’, but the group changed direction before their second album, dismissing Che Fu and morphing into a guitar based alternative band.
1996’s Backspacer was a major disappointment, and the band broke up shortly afterwards. But Postage is a valuable summary of an actthat could have easily blown up internationally, and remain as one of New Zealand’s major singles’ bands.