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CD Reviews:  Supergrass: Life On Other Planets

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Being stoned is one thing, but there is absolutely nothing more boring than listening to people who are stoned, except perhaps listening to a once top-tier British rock band turn into a bunch of tossers. 

Supergrass was one of the most beloved British bands you never heard, with attitude, talent, tunes galore, and two killer albums under their belts, 1995’s I Should Coco and 1997’s excellent In It for the Money. That’s when the law of diminishing returns set in. Supergrass, released in 2000, had some great moments but also showed some chinks in the armor. With their newest, Life on Other Planets, it’s time to exercise the diminished skills clause. 

It starts out somewhat promising, but only somewhat. “Za,” propelled by a spunky piano riff, is a vintage Supergrass rocker in the vein of “Going Out.” “Seen the Light” has its charms as well, in a recycled T. Rex kind of way. “Evening of the Day” begins grandly, with echoes of “Mother’s Little Helper,” but dissolves into an incoherent mess in the third act. “Never Done Nothing Like That After” appears to be an attempt to recapture their youthful exuberance, but it sounds forced and, after hearing such lofty adult work like “Moving,” embarrassing. To add insult to injury, the musicianship, particularly the drumming, is sloppy. 

The early joke with Supergrass was the fact that they seemed to be completely kidding when they named their second album In It for the Money. If anything, here was the one band that was in it for the long haul, and was dying to evolve into something greater than they already were. Two albums later, their vision seems to have been decimated by failure, or drugs, or both. Supergrass still has greatness in them, but their best bet is to embrace the future instead of clinging to their bratty past.

David Medsker

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