The Press Article
Shepherd's Bush Empire, London, 28 October 2002
How gratifying: all these years later, it's still all about the fuzz. And no, not just the giddy pop assault that is 'Caught By The Fuzz', per se, though we do get a hoarser, grown-up, razor-burn version at the end of a cleverly-paced, muscularly-executed first of a three night London stand.
Nope, it's more about fuzz of uniquely Supergrass-type species. Easy-peasy first definition, of course, is facial fuzz-which may be why tonight's only cover is an alternately nursery-rhyme keyboard-driven, power-chord slangin' take on 'The Loner' by Neil Young.
But more pertinently, we get the inexhaustible delights of guitarpop fuzz, served-up by a band whose sturdily-rooted front line doesn't even leave the mic stands until the closing minutes, but whose music sounds like they're climbing every jungle gym in the schoolyard. If the Bush sound system hardly does justice to all the runaway chord-fuzziness you hear in the grooves of new album 'Life On Other Planets', Gaz, Danny and Mickey push it, hard, in the right direction.
And it's clear, incidentally, that Supergrass aren't the first band to have devoted some seriously unfuzzy thought to unleashing their latest recording to the faithful, they're certainly one of the better bands at carrying it off. So, we get unnervingly confident renditions of the album's first six tracks in order, with a mid-set break for the other stuff, and then its remaining half-dozen pretty much in order, too. And if that proves anything, it's that for a supposedly "patchy" new album, almost everything new sounds like it belongs in a favourite-tracks, if not greatest hits, selection.
A spangly, piano-bouncing 'Za' and 'Seen The Light' fizz and fuzz like nobody's business. 'Rush Hour Soul', all loops and strobes, buzzes like a nest of hornets. Sliding briskly through past glories - 'Sitting Up Straight', 'Late In The Day', 'Pumpin' On Your Stereo', a humming 'Lenny', 'Never Done' making the untuneful as tuneful as possible - we end up back where we started, with the new album, and the place where the real Supergrass fuzz lies.
Fuzzy lyrical logic. If this particular trio (now firmly a foursome) are moving anywhere, it's toward a vision of pop that's practically onomatopoeic (blimey! - Reviews Ed) in its gleeful abstraction. Set highlight 'Brecon Beacons' clearly exists - fuzzy storyline about witches aside - because it's so much fun to sing the words "Brecon Beacons" over an itchy ska backbeat. And 'La Song' seems to be both about the Teletubby joys of harmonising "la" repeatedly, and the all-important business of rhyming "fable", "Babel" and "label" with "potato".
And as for 'Grace', the stonkingest 'Grass' single in ages, if there's anything more fuzzily, blissfully dislocated than the glee conjured up - the giggling, chip-scoffing, trampoline-jumping appetite for life - well, none of us over the age of eight are going to experience it first-hand. In the absence of a time machine, fuzzed-up guitars and fuzzy pop words that mean pretty much nothing at all are as a good a substitute as it gets.
Jennifer Nine, Dotmusic - 01 November 2002