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Old 09-08-2009, 08:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Supergrass - Diamond Hoo Ha (2008)

Supergrass - Diamond Hoo Ha (2008)

  1. Diamond Hoo Ha Man (3:26)
  2. Bad Blood (3:03)
  3. Rebel In You (4:41)
  4. When I Needed You (2:31)
  5. 345 - 3:39
  6. The Return Of... (3:36)
  7. Rough Knuckles (3:25)
  8. Ghost of a Friend (3:54)
  9. Whiskey & Green Tea (4:16)
  10. Outside (3:32)
  11. Butterfly (5:11)

Listen : Spotify


Members : Gaz Coombes, Danny Goffey, Mick Quinn, Rob Coombes

First, a little info about the band is in order. Supergrass is one of the many bands to come out of the 90s britpop era. On their debut album I Should Coco from 1995, they carved out their own niche in music history with fast punk-inspired pop rock that sounded like youth distilled, concentrated and put on a record. Their sound has changed subsequently with each album and as a result, they are removing themselves more and more away from their upbeat and playful debut record. Supergrass last before this one, Road to Rouen, reflected a rough period for the band as the Coombes brothers mother died and drummer Danny had some kind of tabloid ordeal. I was curious to see where Diamond Hoo Ha would take them ..

Detailed Review

Supergrass are again exploring new ground with their sixth album, leaving behind much of their punk and pop influenced beginnings and adopting a dirtier rock sound comparable to contemporaries like The Raconteurs. The album opens strong with a vulgar, dirty guitar riff on song Diamond Hoo Ha Man. For old fans, this track might be a little hard on the first try, but with a couple of more listenings, it should become an album favourite. Gaz's vocals combined with the rather randy guitar gives you the impression the boys are trying to make love to your earhole.

When the sun goes down .. I just can't resist .. BITE ME!
It's reasonably kickass and likely the best song on the album!

The beat-steady second song is a little catchier. Bad Blood continues much in the same vein as the first, but it's sound is a little more accessible with a nice melancholic refrain. The overall impression is positive and this one is also a good contender for the album's best song. On Rebel In You, the album gets a little cuter. It sounds like a love song with some nice, poppy backing vocals. It's a bit weaker than the other two, I think, but still a nice track. Definetly one of the stronger songs on the album.

Steady piano beat song When I Needed You is a nice melodic, melancholic tune. It's not as noticeable as the first three, but I think this might be the kind of tune you'll return to when you've played the attraction out of the other strong songs on the album. 345 speeds the album up again with an interesting, noisy guitar riff - quite an unconventional one for pop-rock. It also has some of the attitude from the first two tracks. Also one of the strongest songs on the record.

We're about halfway through and so far, so good.

Return to Inspiration sounds like the album's first filler to me. It doesn't exactly sound bad, but aside from a dreamy refrain, it brings little new to the table. Rough Knuckles is perhaps the best track on the second half of the album. As you will soon see, that's not saying an awful lot. This one is also stylistically similar to the earlier songs, but it doesn't quite have the attitude.

Ghost of a Friend .. Eew, I don't like much. It's a melodic song with acoustic guitar and steady beat, but the only thing I really like about it sounds like it was stolen from Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone .. Not a fan!

Alright, let's make this quick. Whisky & Green Tea, Outside and Butterfly all sound like fillers to me. They're not really adding much to the album, except some strange backing vocals and saxophone on Whisky & Green Tea (which is never heard before on a Supergrass song as far as I know). They're not really bad either, but it makes the album feel like it's dying a repetitive, slow death as it nears it's end .. None of them are interesting enough to contend with the stronger material of the first half.

Review Summary

So what do we have here? On Diamond Hoo Ha, it's appearant the boys have left behind the sadder days of Road to Rouen. The first half of the album is good, I think, and deserves a reasonably good score (4). The second half of the album, however, is nowhere as charming and gets repetitive (3). There were fillers on the earlier Supergrass albums too, but they still had that unique Supergrass sound. Now that the magical concoction is being diluted more and more all over the album, the weakest tracks offer little to interest me.

I'll add that I don't think the strong songs on the album can at all hope to measure up to the strong songs from the earlier albums. None of them suck you in like I Should Coco song Time. None of them have the energy of In it for the money track Richard III. None of them are as downright awesome as Supergrass (their eponymous 3rd album) track Mary. So that's it. At best they are good songs, but not awesome.

If I was to rank the Supergrass albums, I'd do it like this.
  1. Supergrass (1999)
  2. In it for the Money (1997)
  3. I Should Coco (1995)
  4. Life On Other Planets (2002)
  5. Road to Rouen (2005)
  6. Diamond Hoo Ha (2008) <-- So, there it is
It's the bottom of the pile.

I'd still recommend the first half of the album to new listeners and old, but - if you are a new listener, you might as well take a look at the albums on the top of my list first. As for me, I feel slightly disappointed overall. Supergrass is one of the few bands in this genre I've had real interest in and it saddens me a bit that they seem to move away from what it is I liked about them. As you can see, their latest 3 are all at the bottom for me, so now I'll officially stop with the expecations.

Toretorden's Treasure Trove rating : 3/6 - The first half is good, but the last half pulls it down at least a point.
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