The Press Article
OUT 20 SEPT
The third album from Supergrass was recorded at the band's favoured studios, Sawmills in scenic Cornwall. Rejected titles include 'Electric Ladyboy' and 'Supergrass Get Lost'.
Established groups naming their new album after themselves is usually seen, in some way or other, as Important. 'Blur' signalled an abandonment of Britpop-era chips and bitter and a return to form after 'The Great Escape'. 'The Charlatans' affirmed that, after years in the wilderness, the tide was firmly turning their way. The official title of The White Album - 'The Beatles' - signalled a shift from ornate fantasia to unadorned reality.
Significance isn't, however, something Supergrass have ever been too concerned with. They just scoffed when European journalists recently assured the band that, "Because you have been naming this album eponymously, it means it must be your masterpiece." The idea of Supergrass themselves claiming anything as their 'masterpiece' is absurd. Gaz Coombes wanted to call this one 'Monkey Tennis'.
On the Supergrass index of artistic progression, 'I Should Coco' was Pretty Fast and 'In It For The Money' was Pretty Dark. By the same logic, 'Supergrass' is simply Pretty Big. Muscular gobbets of R&B-flavoured guitar pop (see 'Pumping On Your Stereo', a song which manages to be both one of the most flippant and most vital singles of the year) are still there to assault your cranium with simple-minded loveliness. Indeed, the sequence of prowling-wildcat groove 'Your Love', absurdist skank 'What Went Wrong (In Your Head)?' and sharp, fiery 'Beautiful People' might simply amount to a splendid resume of past glories.
But the alternating stomping and strings of opener 'Moving' have already signalled amplified ambitions which are then fulfilled by 'Shotover Hill' and the less familiar searching moods of 'Eon'. With drums booming regally and guitars spiralling vacantly like early-'70s Pink Floyd (an influence reprised on the dreamscape ballad 'Born Again' and the Syd Barret-esque 'Far Away'), this is Supergrass in full widescreen effect.
The embracing of orchestras and prog might be the stuff of Proper Rock cliche, but there's no sign of leaden hoariness here. Indeed, their revelling in freaky new sounds as ends in themselves puts Supergrass close to dance music's more edgy innovators.
Despite its relaxed, reefer-led moments, 'Supergrass' never strays far from being irresistibly alive, like the growling psyche-pop of 'Mary' and the Baby Bowie silliness of 'Jesus Came From Outer Space' (its 'The Pope Smokes Dope'- levels of wit counteracted by a staggeringly bullish bridge).
Blissfully oblivious to post-rock phased clavinet solos and coverage in Wire magazine, this is the sound of a band simply picking up their gear and getting on with making music that's a bit sexy, a bit retro, a bit preposterous and a bit cool. About as complex as a mousetrap, 'Supergrass' works like a dream. And, on those terms it must surely count as something of a masterpiece.
Steve Lowe, Select - October 1999