The Press Article
Life On Other Planets
While former peers have come and gone, Supergrass.nme.com"> have stuck it out. Riding the vagaries of Britpop and every scene since, they've been happy to play the hardy perennials who would show at a moment’s notice and bump up any festival bill.
But following their patchy, sometimes lazy, self-titled third album, they found themselves in a jam. The early promise suggested by the freewheelin', dirty-faced glee of 'I Should Coco’ was lost. There was a growing feeling that Supergrass' ambition was stunted by a yearning to instead get completely stoned. So where next? Should they just tread water, make a so-so album and enjoy their position as every bigger band's favourite openers (competent enough but without the killer shots to steal the show)? Or should they knuckle down and realise their potential?
With so much riding on 'Life On Other Planets', Supergrass take no chances, opening at full tilt with a volley of hits-in-waiting. There's 'Za' and 'Seen The Light', both wide-eyed nods to T-Rex. Sandwiched between, there's 'Rush Hour Soul' skanky garage rock with prog pretensions. But just as you start to believe this to be the great album they've always threatened, Supergrass start to mug it up; they just can't help themselves.
'Evening Of The Day' has a hugely irritating coda which sees them repeat "he's so stoned"; NO-ONE WANTS TO LISTEN TO BUNCH OF STONERS GIGGLING ABOUT BEING SO STONED. They close the album with 'Run' which sounds like Genesis covering Wings. Who thought that was a good idea? Even the mighty 'Seen The Light' contains sheep noises. It's infuriating because when Supergrass can be bothered, they write irresistible pop tunes - try 'Grace', and 'La Song' and 'Never Done Nothing Like That Before'. On their game, they fit into a great British tradition running from The Kinks, through The Buzzcocks and on past Pulp. But they are also guilty of making some wildly self-indulgent claptrap.
‘Life On Other Planets’ is about three-quarters of the great album everyone knows they can make. But with the new breed, led by The Libertines, biting at their heels, the clock is counting down faster than ever before. Worth it - for now.
Paul McNamee, NME - 28 September 2002