The Press Article
Ten years on from Britpop, who'd have put money on Supergrass remaining viable? Knockabout hits Mansize Rooster and Alright didn't suggest a long career. Yet The Monkees-style tomfoolery was always a red herring. Supergrass's composition skills have sometimes been exceptional - a fact overlooked by their lack of iconographic status. This, after all, is an apparent 'singles band' who've also made consistently enthralling LPs.
Their fifth album, Road To Rouen, attempt to negotiate new territories while packing in their melodic signatures. And, in keeping with exploring different avenues, this tour attempts to do the same. Aside from unwrapping new material, Supergrass will be rinsing through their back catalogue in a n acoustic fashion.
No doubt this keeps things interesting for Gaz Coombes and co, but is it all that advisable? Live, Supergrass have often been, well, awkward. Sure, they're well-oiled enough to whizz through Richard III, but they've often appeared ill at ease on stage. In this acoustic context, those cracks could get notably bigger. Perhaps The Monkees antics need cranking up after all.
But Supergrass unplugged does make some kind of sense here; Road To Rouen has an emphasis on sumptuous chamber-pop passages, Hispanic folk interludes and doleful acoustic anthems. As such, it has moments of aching beauty - although calming down doesn't always suit them it may just suit the polite, seated atmosphere at City Varieties.
Tonight, City Varieties, Swan Street, Leeds
Neil Davenport, Metro - 16 August 2005