Sound — 9
After watching a television retrospective on britpop and hearing the track "Caught by the Fuzz" I felt moved to hear this album. Whilst I concede that Blur and Pulp were talented, their sound was not the sixties derivative, pure rock 'n' roll blast of Oasis, and their singers were more of the prancing, posturing stock. That brings me to Supergrass, who slotted alongside Oasis as rock 'n' roll revivalists with their debut "I Should Coco."
Supergrass follows the rock n roll lineage on this album with shades of punk, The Who and The Monkees. The songs don't use a traditional verse chorus verse structure, nor do they ever spread out one riff for four minutes. "The Strange Ones," for example, switches from fully-fledged Buzzcocks power chords to a strolling "House of the Rising Sun" section and back again without feeling disjointed. The band's biggest hit, "Alright," has no chorus - who needs one with such a catchy verse and bridge? Supergrass earn this structural fluidity with their melodic sensibility. Melodies, along with recognizable rock 'n' roll timbres like staccato, cockney piano, psychedelic keyboards and most importantly, uncompromising guitar and drums, make for an album that restores faith in the ideal that you can recycle old ideas without it being a throwback- so long as you are authentic. With their sideburn-sporting frontman Gaz Coombes still teenaged at the time of the album, Supergrass fit this bill.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are a big pull of the album, which is trademark britpop in its exploration of youth and the accompanying lifestyle. "Alright" is perhaps the biggest teen anthem since "My Generation" and "Teenage Kicks." "Caught by the Fuzz" was inspired by the singer's arrest for possession of marijuana and is humorously rendered, here comes my mum, she knows what I've done, "you've blackened our name, if only your father could see you now.'' "She's So Loose" and "We're Not Supposed To" seem to address the age old theme of teenage romance in a subtle and cryptic way, "we're not supposed to make love to you because you're younger, though you're no younger than me or you." Coombes voice is the archetypal young, punk snarl without sounding forced or distracting from other elements.
Overall Impression — 9
Supergrass have actually enjoyed a prosperous career, with their second album reportedly outselling "I Should Coco" worldwide. For the band that is remembered for "Alright" and not much else, it comes as a great surprise that "Alright" was the fourth single from the album, and a double A side at that, suggesting the largely overlooked strength of the band. I find it refreshing that Supergrass dare to cut strong songs to short lengths and let the hooks dictate the structure rather than the other way round. I praise the album for being eclectic and wacky, audacious, exceptionally well produced and mostly undetected by the masses, and can't help feeling that they should feature more in britpop discussions, which tend to become a two horse race.