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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Supergrass
Diamond Hoo Ha
Astralwerks

Rating: 6.2/10 ?


June 4, 2008
To date, Supergrass have boasted a productive career; along with Oasis and the stateside lesser-knowns The Charlatans, Supergrass is only one of a handful of bands carrying the torch for Brit-Pop well on into the 21st Century. Blur is really just Damon Albarn, and the demise of Pulp came with the shift in culture surrounding it, but Supergrass still exhibit the youthful energy of a band once envisioned by Stephen Spielberg as the next Monkees.

Granted, if their last outing, Road To Rouen, is any indication, Supergrass has gone through some transformations themselves. Such shifts can only be expected when Oasis resign themselves to bogarting tricks from The Velvet Underground and Elvis Presley to go along with their glorified Rolling Stones and Beatles riffs, and the Charlatans (beyond adding and dropping the "UK" distinction a handful of times) have gone from churning out guitar rockers to discotheque rave-ups and back again. Whereas their contemporaries have more or less moved on as new transfigurations, on this outing Supergrass again channels their inner youth.

The problem with Supergrass reverting to a past self is that the progess shown on each previous effort was only made possible by building on what came before it. On Supergrass the band showed something at once deliberate and danceable, moving beyond the spontaneity of a youthful niche; Life On Other Planets took their sound to more urgent and otherworldly places; and Road To Rouen was the culmination of a fully matured band, capable of dealing with complex material in epic form (albeit, due to its brevity, epic in style only).

Overall, Diamond Hoo Ha is an empty rock and roll statement made fashionable by bands like The Vines and Jet a few years back. The title track contains the lyrics "When the sun goes down/ I just can't resist/ Bite me," which, for all its glam suggestiveness is not the Supergrass we have come to adore. One can't really blame the group for wanting to "rawk," but "Rough Knuckles," "Whisky & Green Tea," and "Butterfly" carry a retro aesthete that lacks charm, if not contextual significance. In fact, most of the album is merely wrapped up in the posturing of 'Supergrass has still got it.' Loyal listeners know Supergrass has still got it; the truth is they never lost it. What's with the insecurity?

"Rebel In You" is a new-wave throwback with some allure (unlike other delves into the vault), with Gaz Coombes singing "Can't shake the rhythm in you/ Hands down, you're beautiful." But it is "When I Needed You" that hails above all other tracks. This gem develops the subdued complexity of previous standouts "Evening Of The Day" and "St. Petersburg," adding an ingredient of rock and roll cliché moralism, with Coombes singing, "In the back of a stolen car/ Doing 80 with the headlights off/ Is when I needed you." Regardless of lyrical legitimacy, the sentiment is captivating, but across the album as a whole this substance is fleeting, and is what fans will be missing the most.

Reviewed by Patrick Gill
In in a state of suspended adolescence, Patrick Gill can be found hiding away in northwest Ohio, where he spends most of his time rediscovering shoegaze, noise pop, britpop, slowcore, sadcore, lo-fi, neo-psychedelia, post-rock, trad rock, and trip-hop music. In his spare time he teaches college English.

See other reviews by Patrick Gill

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