Supergrass, Life on Other Planets

Life On Other Planets

It’s almost a shame that Supergrass make their music sound so easy. The organ and piano that kick off the first track, “Za,” on their new record, Life On Other Planets, are so obvious but so charming that one gets the feeling of hearing something old for the first time. Since their second album, In It For the Money, Supergrass have found their voice in classic 60s American rock, 70s English space oddities and good old garage. Unlike their contemporaries in mid-90s Brit-pop, Supergrass never saw the Smiths as the Alpha and Omega of guitar music.

“Seen the Light” is drenched in “ooh, la, la” harmony vocals, hand claps and majorly phased guitars, but never descends into novelty. “The Evening of the Day” bounces along with a dark piano melody and sweet vocal. Its refrain — “If she’s not on that 3:15, then I’m gonna know what sorrow means” — channels Ray Davies. “Brecon Beacons” slips into its syncopated guitar line as easily as Madness ever could. Gaz Coombes’ voice only sounds bigger as one hears how versatile the man is.

In some way, it’s hard to have followed Supergrass for the past seven years. Their first two records shone so brightly (each was such a distinct breath of fresh air) that they have essentially eclipsed their last two. Life On Other Planets is as good as anything they’ve ever done. But then, they’re this intensely good on every record.

[This review originally appeared in The Scene.]