Supergrass: Supergrass

Supergrass: Supergrass

Supergrass' self-titled third album opens with "Moving," a track so stirringly bright that it sets an almost impossibly high standard for the songs that follow. A string-laden bit of acoustic contemplation one moment, it segues seamlessly into propulsive pop the next before turning back on itself, giving the impression that Supergrass can do it all better than anyone else around. The rest of the album only occasionally lives up to that moment. The ambitious, if pop-minded, follow-up to the similarly audacious 1997 album In It For The Money, Supergrass suggests that its still-evolving namesake may be the band most likely to survive after the rest of its class has been forced into retirement. Consistency, however, remains another issue. Alongside the self-explanatory "Your Love," the infectiously sacrilegious "Jesus Came From Outer Space," and the Bowie-esque "Pumping On Your Stereo," all strong candidates for the inevitable indispensable best-of album, Supergrass includes the sort of filler that would probably pass as standout tracks on albums by some of its Britpop peers, yet clearly falls short of its potential. With Oasis falling apart, Suede starting to repeat itself, and Blur and Pulp releasing albums that sound fascinatingly grown-up, if obtuse, Supergrass may be that nebulously defined sub-genre's last and best hope. Still remarkably young a half-decade into its career, and standing at a crossroads between its bratty past and an indeterminate future, the band's growing-up-in-public act remains one of the best around. A tentative step toward a maturity at which the group may never quite arrive, Supergrass reflects that uncertainty. The album may be hit-or-miss, but when it hits, it lights up the room.

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