There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Supergrass guitarist Gaz Coombes was a lad of 14 when he played with the obscure minor-league success story that was the Jennifers. The band released a solitary single in early 1991 that took its musical cues from the first Ride EP. Four years later, Gaz is still a lad, but his record collection has grown as much as his legendary sideburns: Influences ranging from the Kinks to Slade to the Buzzcocks to the Pixies are in evidence on I Should Coco. And rather than shoegazing, his new combo has resolved to stare you straight in the eyes and dare you not to fall for the hook-laden tunes that comprise the disc. Since the average age of the band is 21, it’s not surprising that the songs are fixated on celebrating the trappings of youth, whether it’s getting busted for drugs (“Caught by the Fuzz”) or doing what Mum tells them not to (“We’re Not Supposed To”). Supergrass rips through its three-chord punk-pop numbers at a frenetic pace, from the Madness stomp of “Mansize Rooster” to the Buzzcocks frenzy of “Sitting Up Straight” to the bossa nova’d Pixies guitar of “I’d Like to Know.” The album’s pace slows toward the end, and the band loses some of its momentum and punch. The 12-bar blues of “Time” and the six-plus-minute “Sofa (of My Lethargy)” are derivative tunes that aren’t very convincing in light of what’s just passed before: Supergrass is at its most effective at top speeds.