The Press Article
Supergrass
Life On Other Planets


Every once in a while, music fans have to thank heavens for the Atlantic Ocean. Itís big enough to keep the British and American music scenes from completely running together, and to insulate each nation from some of the faddish explosions of the other one. Britainís Supergrass, a longtime favorite among pop fans, is the latest example of how great it is to have a bit of insulation between the States and England.

While just about every pop act Stateside is desperately chugging along in Weezerís wake, Supergrass hasnít succumbed to the geek-pop charms. Itís a good thing too, as Life on Other Planets is the sort of effortless pop that, in a perfect world, ought to show Yankee popsters that thereís a lot more in life than trying to become the next Weezer. Sure, the Brits arenít exactly the most novel act out there Ė it still teems with traces of Britpop and allusions to T. Rex Ė but coming amid a sea of Blue Album fetishists, Life On Other Planets is just the sort of thing thatís needed to clear a pop loverís palate.

With the bandís departure from Capitol Records, Life on Other Planets, Supergrass overcomes the doldrums that rendered its previous effort, its self-titled 1999 record, rather humdrum. The joyous pop is back, and itís almost as if Supergrass is doing its best to hold back a flood of hooks and sugar-coated melodies on this album. Itís to no avail, however: Itís just like putting a finger in a dike thatís about to crumble, as thereís nothing that can hold L.O.O.P. back. Touches of everything from British í90s psychedelic revivalism and spunky humor (check out a tongue-in-cheek Elvis impersonation in ďSeen the LightĒ) to simple pop whip smarts spice up this album and show that pop has a lot farther reach than most pop punkers would like to admit. From a tune that irons out some of the herky-jerky rhythms descended from ska to get an upbeat, danceable zinger (ďBrecon BeaconsĒ) to a track that beefs up dream popís spacey atmospherics with a driving melody and a dead-solid back beat (ďProphet 15Ē), Supergrass delivers one of its strongest sets in years.

The actís strength partially comes from the fact that itís avoided the usual Weezer and Beach Boys references in place of something thatís decidedly more sophisticated, British and fun. The last embers of the Britpop empire havenít cooled off, no matter how silly Oasis gets, as Supergrass keeps them fanned, tossing on bits of T. Rex, Cheap Trick and even The Stone Roses to keep things burning bright. Supergrass hasnít broke in America yet, but itís not because of a lack of talent, as Life on Other Planets shows the bandís got snap to spare.

Aversion.com - January 2003