It's unfair, really. The New Orleans band Supagroup had been hacking away at its probably unholy union of '70s rock and '80s hair metal long before the Darkness came along and stole all the attention. The Darkness managed to be better than Supagroup while still not being very good; if they're the hard-rock revivalists as outsize arena rock gods, the guys in Supagroup are their bar band counterparts.
"Rules," Supagroup's clamorous new album, lovingly filches from the lesser works of AC/DC, Molly Hatchet and Slade. Loud, unappetizing, proudly scatological, it's a work of weapons-grade oafishness.
The Darkness's ability to write memorable songs has saved it from the remainder bins -- at least for now -- but Supagroup is no better than it has to be. Seemingly untroubled by things like melody or logic, the band has crafted an album of slavishly re-created Motorhead riffs layered over nostalgic paeans to life on the road, circa 1977 (According to one sample couplet: "Hotels / Bombshells / Every finger has a different smell." Good times).
It's pretty much a given that Supagroup is kidding (the cover photo, which features the solemn, shirtless band members wielding nunchucks, might be a tip-off). Often funny but never clever, "Rules" is in love with its own cheesiness, with its lumbering, dino-rock cliches and lyrics that will horrify anyone over 12. For better or worse (usually worse), many of the tracks go well beyond the standard parents-lock-up-your-daughters heavy metal shtick: If "Let's Go (Get Wasted)" is any indicator, they might want to keep an eye on their goats as well.
-- Allison Stewart