The Press Article
I Should Coco
"Oi, mum! Got any mandies...?" We are midway through the second side of the first album from Supergrass, and singer Gaz has just asked his mum for a quick drug-fix. The band crank it up. 'We're Not Supposed To' is 45rpm pop played at 78rpm, a quick fire strum. "We're not supposed to, make friends with you, cos you look so lonely, so we're going to, make friends with you..." The gleesome threesome chatter and chirp. Gaz sounds like Pinky, or maybe Perky. Supergrass sound like Chip and Dale on a helium binge.
Like naughty schoolkids at Punk Rock High, Gaz, Danny and Mickey are having a laugh. Acting the goat. Taking the piss. Now, nine songs in, their impish adrenaline is coursing like an electric eel caught in a foaming current after a flash flood. Our cartoon heroes have very clearly lost the plot, but found another one in the looking.
Call it youthful insouciance. Call it statue-toppling, table-turning revolution. Call it immature. Call it what you want, I Should Coco is a rude-kid splash of pop-punk that shows up every other tip for the top as the po-faced, serious-muso, thoroughly adult business ventures they undoubtedly are.
'Caught By The Fuzz' proved as much. Fast, frantic and fun, Supergrass's first single laid bare the real bummer about getting nabbed witha spliff: your mum finding out. 'Mansize Rooster' reaffirmed it. The Oxfords trio's second probably wasn't as saucy as 'Little Red Rooster', was possibly influenced by Madness as much as The Jam, and definitely did have the sheapest, most knockabout so-crap-it's-good video The Chart Show's ever seen. The single duly nipped into the top 40 wearing spring-heeled boots. And the accompanying tour, through February and March, rammed the point home. Every date sold out. Condensed sweat raining off the ceilings of countless provincial clubs. A set that lasted just 35 minutes. Gazmania. Rather quickly, Supergrass were going supersonic.
I Should Coco goes even further. "It's in tribute to that stupid Cockney phrase," says bass player Mickey Quinn of the reasoning behind the album's title choice. "No one knows what it means. And to take the piss out of all that Cockney rubbish that bands are going on about just now."
Perhaps because of their earlier incarnation as unheralded wannabes and sad losers (two-thirds of Supergrass were half of post-Suede Nude signings, The Jennifers), or perhaps because of their own oddball status (Gaz's sprawling sideboards, Danny's famine-friendly physique, Mickey's roly-poly frame), much of I Should Coco sings the praises of the weirdo, the outsider, the pariah. 'I'd Like To Know' kicks off the album with a furious drum roll, fruity organ, backing vocals and la-la-las straight from The Banana Splits, with gaz wondering "where all the strange ones go". Somehow he sounds like Gary Numan. Somehow it doesn't sound crap.
Then, like a six-round knockout. 'Caught By The Fuzz' launches a flying kick to the breadbasket with its 'Anarchy In The UK'-styled ferment. The word "jaunty" and the phrase "pub-piano knees-up" were invented for 'Mansize Rooster'. 'Alright' is the theme tune to the coolest teen-soap or a 90's take on Cliff's 'Summer Holiday'. Short, sharp and sweet, it even fades out on a guitar break to do Hank Marvin proud. "We are young, we run free, keep our teeth nice and clean, see our friends, see the sights, feel alright..." Oi, you youth, says Gaz, you've never had it so good. Then there's 'Lose It', a fuzzed-out tumble that popped up on a recent Sub Pop Singles Club release. Soon, in roars 'Lenny', Supergrass's take on the turbo intensity of Led Zep's 'Black Dog'. 'Strangeones', finally, drifts on psychedelic mutterings and blazes of on a ramalam Buzzcocks chorus.
And that's just side one. Side two is even better. Sometimes Supergrass are Bowie at his glammiest, melodramatic best ('She's So Loose'); other times they're the Stones, plumpling for a raunchy blues-rock stagger ('Time'). Often they're Beatles-esque trippy hippies ('Sofa Of My Lethargy'), or your teary-eyed favorite cousins, waving ta-ta after a rollicking Saturday afternoon cavort ('Time To Go') But mostly they're Supergrass, rock'n'roll monsters with an inspired magpie streak and a crucial sense of fun. If Green Day can conquer America, Supergrass should take on the world.
It's been a blast. Awopbopaloobop awopbamboom... 8/10
VOX - May 1995