Album: Supergrass, Diamond Hoo Ha (Parlophone)

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The Independent Culture

Whatever happened to Supergrass? Not so long ago, they were one of the sharpest knives in the Britpop drawer, with wry pop sensibility allied to slick rock technique.

But 2005's Road to Rouen saw them becalmed in whimsical psychedelic pop hobbled by a pervasive air of resignation. As if to shake off that downcast mood, on Diamond Hoo Ha the band apply themselves with greater energy to a more rock-based set; but the shortfall in inspiration is vividly signalled by the frequent lapses into pastiche, starting with "Diamond Hoo Ha Man", which is the kind of thing The White Stripes might dash off on a slow day.

Worse still is "Bad Blood", which starts out like Iggy Pop before degenerating into bland rock bluster; and having done Iggy, "Rebel In You" then finds Supergrass doing Bowie – or, to be accurate, Supergrass doing Franz Ferdinand doing Bowie.

The stylistic debacle reaches its nadir with "The Return Of...", a multisectioned prog-rock dog's breakfast featuring the limpest sax break since Bowie hung up his reed; rarely can the phrase "the return of inspiration" have been quite as inappropriately wielded as it is here. What on earth are they doing?

Watch the video for Supergrass' Diamond Hoo Ha Man

Pick of the album: '345', 'Outside'

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