Road to Rouen

Supergrass. <i>Capitol</i>.

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After a decade of stellar pop, Britain’s Supergrass remains shamefully overlooked in the States. Still, Gaz Coombes and his mates don’t seem particularly concerned. Smart and insanely catchy at the same time, the band delivers fizzy escapism at its best, cheerfully recycling sources such as Led Zeppelin’s folk side, early David Bowie, and, especially, the later Beatles. The gorgeous “Sad Girl” could be a White Album outtake, while the thrilling crescendos of “Roxy” echo “A Day in the Life.” But Coombes isn’t just a mimic. He crafts dynamic, richly textured tunes that boast a jaunty edge. Despite occasional outbursts of grand artistic ambitions—two suitelike songs top five minutes apiece—Supergrass lacks the self-importance to be truly pretentious, following the loftiest track with a goofy guitar instrumental. Ultimately, Road to Rouen feels much too short, one sure indicator of a great album.

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