The Press Article
Banned on the Run
Supergrass f*#!s with the censors.
Most bands would take the suggestion that they are "maturing" as a compliment, a sign of positive artistic evolution, but when the m-word was used by the Britsh press to describe the sound of Supergrass' new, self-titled third album, it came as a hard slap to the furry mug of 'Grass guitarist Gaz Coombes. "It's a bit of a slag thing to say," he grumbles. "It means [our previous two records] were immature."
Sure, the erstwhile Brit-pop brats enjoy taking the piss now and again, yet they've always balanced their youthful exuberance with pop smarts beyond their years--witness tracks such as the live-forever anthem "Alright," from their 1995 debut, I Should Coco, and "Richard III," from 1997's less-pop-than-rock follow-up In It for the Money. On their latest effort, the group takes a musical giant step away from the frenetic, finely tuned buzz of their previous albums, with tunes like the ambling "Moving" and the epic "Shotover Hill" revealing a band unafraid to tweak their sound. The arrangements are bigger, the melodies more complex, and yes, there are even some strings sprinkled into the mix.
But if Coombes has come of age as a songwriter--he was still in his teens when the 'Grass recorded I Should Coco--the impish singer never comes off like an old sold, especially not when he's belting out the group's latest single. "Pumping on Your Stereo." A rollicking glam sing-along that evokes David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel" with some "Brown Sugar" poured on top, the track is anything but mature. And, cheekily enough, Coombes actually sings "humping" rather than "pumping" on the stereo in question. Apparently, the song was recorded both ways and the group argued for months before deciding on the final lyric. "We finally chose 'humpin' because it was a bit more stupid and ridiculous," says Coombes.
Twenty years ago, radio censors would have freaked over such lyrical salaciousness, perhaps even banning the song from their precious airwaves. But times have changed, Coombes notes regretfully. "It's not actually a swear word," he sighs. "Maybe we should have called it 'F--king on Your Stereo.'" Who says Supergrass has matured?
Revolver (US Magazine) - April 2000