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Supergrass - Diamond Hoo Ha
youthful rock roots
Review by Tony BonyataYou know it's funny, but it's relatively rare that we get any tried-and-true rock & roll albums these days. A few that immediately spring to mind are The Fratellis' 2006 Costello Music, the hilarious guilty-pleasure of The Eagles of Death Metal Death By Sexy from that same year and The White Stripes' monstrous Elephant from 2003.
Thankfully we don't have to wait any longer though, as Supergrass has delivered the goods on their sixth and latest full-length effort, Diamond Hoo Ha. Returning to a more direct youthful hard-rocking approach after their critically acclaimed, yet darker and more mature 2005 effort, Road To Roeun, the album opens with arguably the strongest rock riff since The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" on the number "Diamond Hoo Ha Man." Not only does frontman Gaz Coombes' guitar have a similar prowl-and-attack approach to Jack White, but his high-pitched howl also sounds eerily familiar. Even Danny Goffey's primordial stomp is more than reminiscent of Meg White's simplistic percussive approach. The band then downshifts into a sleazy, pre-glam rave-up on "Bad Blood," where they may have left The Stripes behind, but not their Detroit home turf as they now successfully hotwire into the mayhem of Motor City punk-instigators Iggy Pop & The Stooges, where Gaz turns in a muted deep, vampiric vocal that sounds as if it was taken directly from Iggy's brilliant 1977 solo debut The Idiot - which coincidentally was partially recorded at the historic Hansa Studios in Berlin, where Diamond Hoo Ha was also recorded.
David Bowie was another famous artist that would also record at Hansa, but unlike the atmospheric, electronic music he created there in the late '70s for his own Low and Heroes albums, Supergrass instead looks for inspiration from Bowie's early '70s Ziggy Stardust period on the sashaying-pop-rock number "Rebel In You."
The rest of this short-but-sweet forty-one minute collection features either intensely melodic numbers ("When I Needed You," "The Return OfŠ" and "Butterfly") or scorching rockers ("345" and the pounding "Whiskey & Green Tea") and, ultimately, there isn't one mediocre moment on the entire record.
Diamond Hoo Ha may seem a silly name for an album, but this Oxford, UK-based quartet make it seriously rock.
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