The Press Article

If "Richard III" the thundering first single and opening salvo from 1997 album In It For The Money set out to prove that Supergrass' I Should Coco wasn't a one-win anomaly, it served another purpose setting the self-titled Strange Ones up as the weirdest dark horse of the Brit-pop field.

The sideburns, the munchkin looks and buoyant persona worked perfectly with a song like "Going Out" from the bands' debut. But this bombastic, over-orchestrated ball tearing rock monolith was something else. Fans who survived that shock will be happy to learn that this self titled album is In It For The Money restated, this time clearer and with more pop at its heart.

It's a strange combination of musical nous and humour. "What Went Wrong (In Your Head)" pumps along in the Beatles' best tongue-in-cheek vaudeville rock tradition; "Shotover Hill" revealing this tendency toward pomp arrangement and instrumentation (timpani, Queen harmonies) can leave the band coming up as silly as the Who circa Tommy. No move is too cheesy. An affection for multi-layered backing vocals is elevated to ELO proportions, as "Moving" glides with all the grace of the kd lang song of the same name, frontman Gaz Coombes soaring like Thom Yorke meeting the Carpenters space schmaltz. Even stranger is the fact that Supergrass consistently manage to pull it off.

Only a couple of the songs here really suffer for Coombes over-arrangement or ambition. Like "Pumping On Your Stereo" paraphrases, namechecks and lampoons Bowie's "Rebel Rebel", Supergrass can contemporise a wide-ranging pop base, and sound at once earnest and frivolous while they're at it. Anyone on that tightrope deserves our applause.

Simon Wooldridge, Juice - October 1999