This is going to start out sounding less than complementary. Supergrass was never a band I’d have imagined going to see. Never crossed my mind. I’d enjoyed Alright, Pumping on your Stereo and Richard III back in the ’90s, but that was about it.
Thank goodness for festivals I guess. Back in ’08 I went to see Neil Young at the Hop Farm with my dad. It rained. Then the sun came out while Rufus Wainwright was playing Cohen’s Hallelujah. When Supergrass hit the stage we were in decidedly good spirits, and I couldn’t get over a. how much the band (and their kids in ear defenders at the side of the stage) seemed to be enjoying themselves and b. just how many of their songs I knew and loved.
So the next day after I’d woken up (late – took ages to get out of that car park) I went and bought/downloaded a Supergrass best of compilation, Supergrass Is 10 – The Best Of 94-04. I get that all of this opens me up to “no true fan…” nonsense (and it is nonsense, I will die on this hill), but I wanted the overview their set had given me, and I didn’t want to have to download 4 albums.
And I wasn’t disappointed. 21 tracks from 10 years/4 albums and all of them are bangers. Right from the frenzied opener, Caught by the Fuzz, it’s a great ride. With high energy (Humping, sorry, Pumping on your Stereo, Richard III), fun (Alright, Going Out, Strange ones), wistfulness (Late in the day, It’s not me, and the seemingly cut-and-shut Moving) and even a passable T-Rex impression (Seen the Light), I find it impossible not to be in a good mood listening to these songs.
What I particularly love is that whilst they can rock out, even with a punkish edge on occasion, they have a psychedelic side too, and a lovely texture to the songs – helped by lush keys and some gorgeous guitar effects. Fundamentally, though, they’re just well written songs, and theoretically you can’t go too wrong if that’s the case.
Despite some more introspective material, you always get an overwhelming sense of tongue in cheek and not taking anything too seriously from Supergrass. The whole album feels like a cheeky wink to camera somehow.
Now, one of these days I should get around to listening to all of the albums and Gaz Coombes solo stuff, which I’m informed is also top notch. Guess maybe I’m not a true fan after all…