I Should Coco [Audio CD] Supergrass
"We are young / we are free / Keep our teeth / nice and clean" is hardly an incendiary motto, but the lyrics to "Alright" rather summed up Supergrass' influential Britpop statement of intent, I Should Coco. It's about being young, about riding on buses, about smoking cigarettes and about getting a little bit tipsy. Harmless fun, even if it does involve being caught with a little bit of hash, as frontman Gaz Coombes memorably recounts on "Caught By The Fuzz". What makes Supergrass' debut so much more important than, say, Menswear's debut album, though, is that I Should Coco sounds every inch an unforced classic. "I'd Like To Know" and "Caught By The Fuzz" clatter along with vintage punk cheer, but later "Time" and "She's So Loose" demonstrate a mellow capacity for reflection. I Should Coco is so much more than kid's stuff; it's an almost too-perfect snapshot of adolescence. --Louis Pattison
While the latter-day adventures of Britpop bastions Supergrass have seen appearances at the wrong end of the chart, gory accidents and unfavourable tabloid coverage, 1995 debut I Should Coco has left a deeper and longer-lasting footprint than the band's legacy overall.
Displaying a shoulder-shrugging joie de vivre normally reserved for that heavenly day when the student loan cheque hits the hall carpet, this guise of Supergrass truly channels the same playfulness peddled so successfully by Madness the previous decade. Yet sadly, this retrospective examination also serves to highlight that few bands even come close to adopting that same energy today. The Kooks and The View may play up to such carefree, youthful ideals, but in the wake of the edge carried by I Should Coco, they sound clumsy, contrived and oafish.
While "Alright" may have been the initial leg-up required to inaugurate the reign of Supergrass, the downside comes from its notoriety as the definitive Supergrass anthem. A deserving tag, certainly, but later treasures such as "Moving", "Late In The Day" and "Pumping On Your Stereo" remain in its shadow as a result.
However, within the arena of I Should Coco, it functions exceptionally well. Its recognisable blend of cordial and crazy sits comfortably as part of a mezze of eccentric oddities. A hugely diverse collection, its charms lie in its unpredictability, with the only consistent factor being the high level of quality.
"We're Not Supposed To", which could have been lifted straight from the soundtrack of Labyrinth, sits effectively alongside the bluesy flow displayed in "Sofa Of My Lethargy". Even individual tracks illustrate the diversity of I Should Coco within themselves, with "Strange Ones" flitting between, trudging along irately and with high-octane dynamism.
Given that I Should Coco was born during the Britpop sovereignty - a time when harmonious, indie-lite high spirits owned the charts - it understandably became part of the overall movement. No bad thing to be allied with, by any means, even if it did eclipse the content slightly as a result. But hindsight is a marvellous thing, and Supergrass carry even more weight outside of the bubble, underlining that I Should Coco stands up on its own as an iconic 90s masterpiece. --Al Fox
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