Some extracts from ICA 142.
The momentum from the debut album was maintained in early 1996 by the release of the single Going Out, a song that was, without any question, a sideways swipe at Danny Goffey who was just beginning to show signs of enjoying life a bit too much and not wanting to contribute to the band.
It took a year before anything else was released, but it was well worth it thanks to this near hard-rock production that I’m sure had a big influence on Matt Bellamy as he tried to work out where to position his band, Muse. It’s an absolute belter of a pop/rock hybrid in which the drummer was given his place to show how important he was to them. Worth mentioning that the name of the song comes from its working title, in which all the new tunes were given people’s names. This just happened to be the third song called Richard and has nothing to do with the real-life kings and the famous play by Shakespeare.
One of things that gives Alright such a memorable hook is the piano part which was played by Rob Coombes, older brother of the band’s frontman. Indeed, Rob’s contributions in the studio and on-stage were always an essential part of the band’s sound but it wasn’t until the release of the time of the release of Life On Other Planets, their fourth album in 2002, that he officially became the fourth member.
It was long-overdue recognition, but it did run the risk of perhaps turning the band into just another plodding four-piece going through the motions, especially given that their third and self-titled LP, released in 1999, had been a bit of a let-down to many, despite it harvesting a couple of excellent 45s). Nothing had been heard of the band for the best part of three years until a deliberately low-key and very limited edition 7” single, Never Done Anything Like That Before, was issued in July 2002 that came and went before most folk knew the band were back. As such, Grace was really the comeback song in advance of the new LP. It proved to be a superb return to form, allaying any fears of them becoming as dull, plodding and irrelevant as so many of their peers from the Britpop era.
The final Supergrass songs came and went without much fanfare in 2008. This was initially as much to do with the band releasing the first single as only a limited edition 7” vinyl single, and latterly from the record label not wanting to spend too much in promotion. This single, the first new music since the downbeat and melancholy material found on Road to Rouen, was a very welcome return to the dynamic sounds of yesteryear.
It was a sad and bitter end to what had been a long and successful involvement with Parlophone Records, but it wasn’t actually supposed to be their final album, as come 2009 they signed to indie label Cooking Vinyl but never got round to finishing what would have been a seventh studio LP.
2022 update : Having spilt in 2010, the band reformed in 2019 but saw their plans blown away by the COVID outbreak. They were, however, one of the undoubted top performers at this year’s Glastonbury festival.