Acoustic Sounds

Supergrass

I Should Coco

Music

Sound

Produced By: Sam Williams

Engineered By: John Cornfield

By: Michael Fremer

September 17th, 2022

Genre:

Rock Britpop

Format:

CD

Originally Seen In:

Magazine

Supergrass' Ambitious And Likeable 'I Should Coco'

From the archives: Michael Fremer's original review of Supergrass' 'I Should Coco'

(This review originally appeared in Issue 7, Spring 1996.)

It was only a matter of time before an alternative to “alternative” music’s dreary sound would emerge, and over the past few months it has—in the form of Britpop, with bands like Oasis, Pulp and Supergrass gaining not just “underground” popularity, but major chart action—something the last British wave, the “Manchester sound,” never achieved.

Of all the bands leading the new British pop invasion, the one I find the most fun is Supergrass. They’re the most “Mod” in The Who/Small Faces sense of the word (they even quote from Tommy on the opening tune), with a high energy notion of fun that reeks of 1960s Carnaby Street, of all places, not to mention “Suffragette City,” and the English music hall.

The song “Alright,” featured in Amy Heckerling’s lightweight but very amusing film Clueless, epitomizes the trio’s good natured approach to music making, with a breezy, melodic anthem to youthful exuberance. While some songs aimed in the same direction tend to flaunt the age divide with in your face brattiness, Supergrass’ approach is so fresh and innocent (as is the song’s video which is at the end of the Clueless VHS tape) that geezer defensiveness melts away under the weight of the almost anachronistic sounding piano as it pounds out steady eighth notes behind the backbeat.

The bass/drums/guitar trio plays briskly and tight, dealing power chords, and infectious riffs from a seemingly endless deck of musical calling cards which pass from aural view so quickly and cleanly, most—save for the ones the band wants you to identify—go unrecognized.

Meters change mid-phrase, with the group switching musical gears within songs, and performing instrumental acrobatics few 60s bands would have dared attempt. While much of the material is taken at an over the top pace and high energy level, this is not one of those speedfest records which skips over the surface like a stone on the water and then abruptly ends.

These guys and their producer have done their homework; they’ve listened and absorbed, and what they’re throwing out at you is at once very familiar and yet almost impossible to pin down. The disc chews up psychedelia, new wave, Beatles, Kinks, Stones, dare I say Herman’s Hermits, Mungo Jerry, and who knows what else, in setting off on its own course of musical action.

An ambitious, likable album, but not for those who like their music “heavy” and portentous. This ain’t fitting into the flannel-shirted “Edge” radio format anytime soon and that’s too bad. I’ll put it to you this way: if you listen and find that you’re too old for this stuff, you are! And that’s too bad too!

Sonically, the best I can say is the recording is more than competent and very well organized spatially with a serious attempt at recreating the simple four-track sound of the mid to late 60s. Frequency response is quite wide (though the logo on the CD which says “High Fidelity - 36000 cycles per second” is a bit overly optimistic!) with good bass extension and definition. Instrument placement and focus are quite good.

What’s missing from that era is the airy, spacious sound of analog and tubes, though I bet this came out on vinyl in Britain and if it's all analog (fat chance) it could sound very good though there’s serious compression built into the mix and an overall solid state hardness that vinyl can’t soften.

Music Specifications

Label: Capitol

Catalog No: CDP 33350 2

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