They never falter, [a]Supergrass[/a]. They keep moving, but they never really change. Certainly, there’s the much-vaunted ‘seriousness’ of the new album, with its no-nonsense eponymous title. There’s the slow spread of Gaz‘s facial hair. Indeed, with all of the recent fuss made over [a]Supergrass[/a]’ deepening maturity, you might expect a Zimmer frame-assisted trio of fossils to take the stage, rather than the grinning, impossibly young cartoon band that spawned ‘I Should Coco’. But here they are, still looking barely post-pubescent, the spectre of seriousness obstinately failing to loom.
Contrary to reports, [a]Supergrass[/a] haven’t become any more sombre, reflective or oblique. It’s just that, perhaps, we want them to. By album three, a good, credible band is somehow expected to have evolved into greater profundity, to have borne the cross of fame and exhibited signs of turmoil, age, or diminished naivety. Yet Supergrass have remained consistent – pumping out three albums of pretty much equally inane, infectious and unfailingly excellent pop music. True, they have lost some of the clattery, lurchy punkoid sensibility of ‘I Should Coco’, and the lyrics have become vaguely more introspective, but the attitude is the same. They’re still having a good time.
So old and new material intermingle seamlessly. The fizzy ‘Caught By The Fuzz’ and trigger-sprung ‘Mansize Rooster’ sit comfortably next to the pedals-to-the-floor thrust of ‘Your Love’ and the acid boil rumble of ‘Beautiful People’. The irrepressible Stones-meet-Bowie stomp of ‘Pumping On Your Stereo’ melds into the plastic simplicity of ‘Sun Hits The Sky’ with a wash of coloured lights. Everything is immaculately executed, finessed into perfectly proportionate, radio-compliant shapes. There is no noodling, no time-wasting, nothing even so superfluous as between-song conversation. Just clean lines, practised skill. Seemingly oblivious to the thought that anyone might be here to watch them, they don’t perform so much as they just get on with it. [a]Supergrass[/a] may not be saying anything profound, but that’s not really the point. The tunes, they speak for themselves, and they’re alright.