They’ve received critical acclaim from both the American and British press, released a bounty of hyper-animated singles, been offered a TV show (similar to “The Monkees”) by Steven Spielberg, and yet most people have never listened to, or even heard of, the great British rock-pop outfit Supergrass.
Singer/guitarist Gaz Coombes, bassist Mickey Quinn and drummer Danny Goffey formed Supergrass in 1993 and would in short time become one of the best Brit rock groups of the ’90s. But while fellow Brits Oasis and Radiohead would find equal success in America, Supergrass never managed to get the kind of airplay they deserved across the pond.
On their 1995 debut album, I Should Coco, Supergrass made a name for themselves with their catchy melodies, lyrical levity and relentless energy. The band became somewhat of a phenomenon among U.K. music journalists for their refreshing sound. Their follow-up, 1997’s In It for the Money, featured a more mature sound, but the playful eccentrics still remained.
On Life on Other Planets, their fourth album, the boys from London return with the same fervor laden on their first two releases (so sadly missing from their self-titled third LP). Things get off to a boisterous beginning with “Za,” the album’s fizzy opening track.
The highlight of Planets is undoubtedly “Seen the Light,” Coombes’ uproarious tribute to late glam rock pioneer Marc Bolan. The song showcases Supergrass’ ability to channel rock greats (Coombes also mimicked Mick Jagger for their previous single “Pumping on Your Stereo”) while putting their own flair on the music.
Songs like “Can’t Get Up” (abounding with its amusing, overt sexual innuendos) and “Grace” (a noteworthy example of the band’s pop perfection) make Life on Other Planets one of the liveliest albums in recent memory. If there were any justice in the music industry today, Supergrass would be heard as prominently here as they are in the home country instead of being relegated to MTV2 obscurity.
4 1/2 Stars