Posted by: Ryan Allen on July 3, 2008 at 12:00 pm


Supergrass, Diamond Hoo Ha (Parlophone, 2008)

MP3: “Diamond Hoo Ha Man”

Whether being depicted as teenage scruffs trying to avoid getting “caught by the fuzz,” or as other-planetary Major Tom’s, Brit-pop survivors Supergrass have always been cast as zany classic-rock revivalists that don’t mind hamming it up for the camera. Look to any of the group’s videos throughout their fifteen-year career, and you’re as likely to find them biking around town, sporting t-shirts with their names splayed on them (“Alright”), as you are watching them become elastic-limbed puppets (“Pumping On Your Stereo”), bop around on pogo-sticks (“Late In the Day”), or impersonate homeless guys (“Rush Hour Soul”). Where the band has succeeded, and perhaps where other Brit-rock contemporaries like Oasis and Coldplay have tripped up in the “personable” department, is that they’ve managed to be taken mostly seriously by not taking themselves too seriously — no wonder Dave Grohl is a big fan. So it should be no shock that in the video for “Diamond Hoo Ha Man” — the single from this year’s Diamond Hoo Ha — Supergrass assume the identity of fictional German two-piece Diamond Hoo Ha Men (with singer/guitarist Gaz Coombes as “Duke Diamond” and drummer Danny Goffey playing the part of “Randy Hoo Ha”). But don’t expect Kraftwerk-ian blips and bleeps; in both song and on film, we’re getting classic Supergrass. The riffs are heavy, still tipping it’s glitter-encrusted hat to the likes of 1970s glam-champions T. Rex and the Sweet, as we watch the boys — in character, of course — gallivant like the rockstars they are pretending to be (and are, at least in England). And yes, we know this is a record review, but it goes without saying that by using the video and single as evidence, Supergrass are comfortable being, well, Supergrass. Album highlights like “Rebel In You” — with it’s “Coming To America”-meets-the Clash vibes — the “Rush Hour Soul”-esque “345,” and the slightly funky “Rough Knuckles” find the band happily revisiting familiar moments that made past records like In It For the Money and Life On Other Planets so attractive; a little Kinks-ian pastoral pop here, a little Bowie-like strut there, some Small Faces-y blues for the soul, and some unhinged Jam-esque punk for the fist-pumpers. It’s all done with pomp, panache, and a smirk, but still honest and true to themselves. In a world bloated with Kaiser Chiefs and Dirty Pretty Things, we’re glad these guys exist to show ‘em how it’s done. — Ryan Allen

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