Friday, October 3, 2008

In It For The Money...Not On Your Life!

Supergrass are nothing if not consistent. Since 1995, during the height of Britpop, these guys have put out a string of great and really great albums starting with the giddy I Should Coco. The difference between Supergrass and their contemporaries during this time was their utter lack of pretension, even though their skills were apparent from the get-go. Blur were trying to re-invent the serious character studies of Ray Davies, Oasis were all faux snarls and The Happy Mondays were football hooligans with heroin habits. But The ‘Grass were just plain fun, idly side stepping the trappings of fame with gusto and conviction. Case in point: Steven Spielberg famously offered the boys the chance to star in their very own Monkees style TV. show, reportedly for a boatload of cash, which they promptly declined.
They followed up the debut with one of the finest albums of the 90’s, the sardonically titled In It For The Money (Hah! Take that, Mr. Spielberg!). This was a sprawling album which contained a veritable cornucopia of genre exercises. You would think that an album this schizophrenic wouldn’t work, but it does. From the psychedelic title track to the adrenalin rush of Richard III and Sun Hit’s the Sky to the introspective and beautiful Late In The Day, this is an album that blows away the English tradition of following up a great debut with a sub par sophomore effort.
They stumbled slightly with 1999’s self titled long player, but it still contained some of Supergrass’ finest songs in Jesus Came From Outer Space and the summer driving classic Pumpin’ On Your Stereo.
Life On Other Planets was a great album and one of my personal favorites, although by this time I think I was one out of about 100 fans still interested. It’s a shame really, ’cause LOOP is one helluva fine LP full of their patented power pop pleasures.
They followed with the subdued but effective and “punningly” titled Road To Rouen (just to prove their sense of humor was still intact, I suppose). It’s a slight but focused 35 minutes and it’s the bands most musically consistent effort to date with each song possessing a similar ‘feel’ which gives this album a great flow from start to finish.
I just got their latest entitled Diamond Hoo Ha Men, and so far I’m impressed. It won’t top my best of list for 2008 (that is being reserved for the new Mercury Rev), but it’s probably going to make the top 10.
Consistency is important and increasingly rare, especially these days, and it’s nice to know that every 2 or three years Supergrass will release another really good album. What other bands can you say that about?

Not too many, I’ll wager.

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