The Press Article
Road To Rouen
The latest album from Gaz and the boys concentrates on a chilled-out vibe, but doesn't demand any kind of attention.
Last year, the Supergrass best-of collection came packaged with a Supergrass Is Ten badge. It was a 'my, doesn't time fly' kind of statement, and indeed it does, punctuated every couple of years by a slightly disappointing record from this once most vital of bands. Road To Rouen is an album attempting to deal with these growing pains - not terribly, but not that successfully, either.
It's not surprising to find Supergrass have calmed down; most of a band we like to think of as still riding around on Choppers are now married dads in their 30s. But though they've always had a melancholic, reflective side, it was always as a companion to those breezy, spunky three-minute pop songs. Here, the chilled-out vibe is all there is - to the detriment of any kind of memorable chorus. There's still much to enjoy about Supergrass being this mellow; single St Petersburg has a pleasantly lush strings'n'acoustic feel that possibly wouldn't have worked earlier in their career, and there's surf guitar, jazzy instrumental interludes and Lennonesque ballads. But nothing demands attention.
Bands who've done the rounds as Supergrass have are often damned if they do change, and damned if they don't. But Road To Rouen doesn't elicit reaction either way. It feels too muso, like a jam session - its brevity merely adding to the sense that this time around, Supergrass didn't have any tunes that might make a best-of.
BE, Metro - 15 August 2005