Houston Music

Superna

The band known as Zero Gravity seemed to have it made. As human jukeboxes, its members regularly drew riotous crowds to their covers-only shows. They made plenty of money and always had a gig. But cover band status is a gilded cage; cover bands don't tour, they don't make albums, they don't get much respect. Zero Gravity wanted to bust out. The band changed its name to Superna and started writing original material. They now have 30 original tunes, a whole new outlook and a new CD, Reflect.

From the opener, "Cut Off," with its reliable combination of buzz-saw guitar riffs and shouted melodies, through "Scorpion," with its stinging tail of complex beats and nonlinear lyrics, Reflect displays a band drawn more to dreamy disorientation than adrenaline anthems. The band laments the frenzy of modern life with the enigmatic instrumental "Broken," while the warped "Surly" shrieks like a police car siren through the stillness of a Woodlands night.

But sometimes their genre-bending leads them to dead ends. Like juvenile delinquents trying to see how far they can get on a stolen credit card, Superna pushes it over the top with "Hatshepsut," an unsettled track with jolts of brash and undirected energy. Barring this misstep, the band delivers on its bid to escape the country-club prison that is life as a cover band.

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Maurice Bobb