"We are young / we are free / Keep our teeth / nice and clean" is hardly an incendiary motto, but the lyrics to "Alright" rather summed up Supergrass' influential Britpop statement of intent, I Should Coco. It's about being young, about riding on buses, about smoking cigarettes and about getting a little bit tipsy. Harmless fun, even if it does involve being caught with a little bit of hash, as frontman Gaz Coombes memorably recounts on "Caught By The Fuzz". What makes Supergrass' debut so much more important than, say, Menswear's debut album, though, is that I Should Coco sounds every inch an unforced classic. "I'd Like To Know" and "Caught By The Fuzz" clatter along with vintage punk cheer, but later "Time" and "She's So Loose" demonstrate a mellow capacity for reflection. I Should Coco is so much more than kid's stuff; it's an almost too-perfect snapshot of adolescence.
The songs on I SHOULD COCO play like missing pieces of the Buzzcocks' SINGLES GOING STEADY, HUNKY DORY-era Bowie, and when the Stones still existed BETWEEN THE BUTTONS. At the same time, Supergrass fit perfectly into the very retro "punk" tastes of the mid-'90s charts, and make it all seem excitingagain.
Combining breathless pop-rock with an ebullient and glamorous sense of humor, Supergrass are nervy and fun. "I'd Like To Know" and "Caught By The Fuzz" show off Supergrass' undeniably British sensibilities (the chirping Cockney harmonies, the acoustic piano, the topsy-turvy bass lines), but it all works. The album is a rare breed--one that plays like an old favourite, but isn't an exercise in redundancy ornostalgia.
I SHOULD COCO isn't a painful reminder of eras gone by, but an adoring school-boy homage--exactly the onethat Supergrass plays up to. Because anything too serious might ruin a good time.
1. I'd Like To Know
2. Caught By The Fuzz
3. Mansize Rooster
5. Lose It
7. Strange Ones
8. Sitting Up Straight
9. She's So Loose
10. We're Not Supposed To
12. Sofa (Of My Lethargy)
13. Time To Go
Same price at Amazon if you prefer, no Quidco though. £5 to £8 elsewhere