Super sound lives on

by Matt Edwards

Brit-rock band Supergrass is back, after receiving mild success three years ago with the single “Pumping on Your Stereo.” The Oxford, England band is hoping for more of a breakthrough stateside with its fourth release, “Life on Other Planets.”

Their only real success so far in the United States has come from the single, “Pumping on Your Stereo.” Supergrass gained a lot of exposure with the song, much of it coming due to its inclusion on the “Road Trip” movie soundtrack.

The power-pop sound that Supergrass pumps out has the feel reminiscent of many acts out of the seventies, like David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks.

However, the band seems be treading water more on their own with “Life on Other Planets,” and on most of the album Supergrass manages to keep their heads dry.

The head-bobbing, distorted guitar lead in “Rush Hour Soul” is on the money. It’ll make you believe that this band has to break in the United States one of these days.

In “Grace,” the broken record refrain will hook you even if you’re not paying attention. Hours later, the song will be revolving in your head, and not in an annoying, Creed-like way.

Most of the songs on “Life” provide a healthy mix of musical elements and instruments. The obvious lead guitar is there, yet sometimes the vocal harmonies take over.

What really makes Supergrass standout is its ability to mix in synthesized beats and sound samples successfully into the songs. For instance, if you grab the headphones and listen close, you can catch some barnyard animal noises, among other things.

The band loses some well-built momentum a couple times on “Life,” in its efforts to experiment more. Track six, “Evening of the Day,” does slow the progression of the album. Its inconsistent feel is interesting, as are the coughs left in for the final take, but the song seems to detract from the overall feel and flow of “Life.”

The 12-track album runs for only about 42 minutes. The current trend seems to be short thirty and forty minute releases, but I can’t help but think there should be more with “Life.” This CD just feels like a quick sampling of what potential Supergrass possesses.

Nonetheless, these British boys have churned out a refreshing and giddy piece of work.

On “Life on Other Planets,” Supergrass shows the polish of having learned from three previous albums. However, there is still more to learn.

The bottom line is that Supergrass has great soulful music that sticks with you.

Expand your horizons and have fun while doing it; give this album a shot.