The Reader Review
Supergrass Is 10
Well it makes me feel old. 10 years! Can it really be that long? I got into Supergrass in 1995 and here I am at 27 still listening to I Should Coco and enjoying the same thrill. Supergrass make timeless singles, it's their strength, little pocket pop rockets that you don't seem to tire of. I thought this would be a chronological record featuring all of their singles to date with two incentive tracks bolted on the end to point to a new beginning. It's not. It is for the most part that but there are some strange omissions and inclusions that make this more than a run through the hits.
This is a lop sided collection that understandably includes more of the bands golden period than their recent works. We get a whopping selection of Coco tracks as Time is included - the double A-Side of Alright (though I can't remember radio stations playing it) and Strange Ones is here for some reason, presumably to tie in with the Official Site, though I guess it has been a B-side (3 times!). Lose It was a single in the US I believe and is also included and Wait For The Sun - perhaps the bands most loved B-Side - from that era has snuck on as a fitting closing number.
For some reason Never Done Nothing Like That Before has vanished from history and isn't included. Admittedly it was a vinyl release only and it's certainly their weakest single but it would have been nice to have another recent track to show Supergrass are a work in progress rather than a Britpop band cashing in on their past (I don't think that but many will!). It would also have been a chance to release the single version of that song on CD for the first time.
The only other unusual choice on the record is It's Not Me. Whether this will be the acoustic b-side version or the album version remains to be seen (I haven't heard the album yet!) and I hope the single edits of the songs will be on the album rather than the album versions.
So what else is there? Well the two new songs that's what, and they are pretty good ones too! Kiss Of Life is the funkiest thing they have ever recorded and it's a delight to hear them doing something adventurous. It's still un mistakeably Supergrass, the backing singing sounds very much like I Should Coco material, the e-bow guitar effect from Mary makes another appearance and the strange guitar sounds from Seen The Light are back too. The lyrics are typically lightweight but interesting and really complement the song. A good solid single that is up to par with the rest of their work - phew!
So what of Bullet? Well if we thought Kiss Of Life was showing a new direction we were wrong! Bullet is the most grungey thing they have ever recorded. All that touring with Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters has rubbed off and it's great. I can really see them going further with this style. Another strong song though maybe the least commercial thing here, not sure if old school fans will approve but I love it!
The rest of course you know. A string of great singles that haven't aged a jot. This collection is more consistent than Blur, Oasis or Pulps output and marks them out as the best band from that era. It's a shame that Can't Get Up wasn't a single as I feel it would have fared better than Seen The Light or Rush Hour Soul, the latter of which is probably the weakest song on this album and was an ill advised choice for release. Whatever, you'll all have your own opinions on it and who am I to complain, just glad they have stuck around for the duration and I look forward to the new album!
Ross Thomas - 09 May 2004