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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 November 2015
'Road to Rouen', the fifth studio album by Britain's alternative rock band Supergrass was released in 2005. Whereas many artists who had risen to prominence during the Britpop explosion were no longer achieving a fraction of the same commercial success, this band's new album flew into the UK charts at a highly respectable no.9, and is nothing short of five star worthy. Ten years had passed since these Oxford lads had dropped their energetic and stomping punk-ish debut album I Should Coco, so anybody who expects this one to sound anything like it, will be disappointed.

The boys had grown up, experienced lives difficulties, and as a result, the songs on here have deeper, more worldly lyrics, and a much more mellow, more melodic theme to them. The epic opener 'Tales of Endurance (Parts 4, 5 & 6)', is followed by the beautiful melody of the Oasis-ique 'St. Petersburg', and then we come to the delightful 'Sad Girl', one of only several songs which are reminiscent of The Beatles in their mid-to-late '60s era. The fourth track, 'Roxy', is not only the longest tune here, it's easily amongst the greatest things Supergrass have ever put to record. The pair of gems at the end: 'Low C', and 'Fin', were both issued as singles, and fade things out onto a satisfactory end.

Contemporary and timeless, 'Road to Rouen' is an artistic treat, and a nice departure from their other bouncy pop-rock offerings. This is one of those records by established musicians which you can play back-to-back with any of the debuts that the new indie-artists were delivering around the same time, and you'll be able to hear just how well it holds up amongst any of them. Although Supergrass split in 2010, the band's frontman Gaz Coombes has rose to great prominence this year with his solo atmospheric masterwork Matador, which I would highly recommend to those of you who love this album.
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on 15 May 2017
Although this is the 5th (and shortest) Supergrass LP, the Indie kings are still hanging on to their crowns in 2005. 'Tales Of Endurance', which opens proceedings, is utterly inspired and certainly the most progressively minded song they ever wrote (shades of Pink Floyd?). 'St Petersburg' is a classy mid-pace song whilst 'Roxy', 'Kick In The Teeth' and the title track are brilliant, punchy rock numbers which should definitely satisfy traditional fans of the group. The mellower strains of 'Low C' and 'Fin' are very relaxing; overall this is another classy release from Gaz & Co and is well worth buying in my opinion.
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on 5 April 2017
When you are a die hard Supergrass fan, as I am, you are almost certain to be loyal and appreciative of any of their work but I was once again bowled over by the quality of this great band's later offering. So many catchy bits that then swoop into 'only by Supergrass' kind of riffs, escalations, explorations and the like. And then, in the middle, there's a pleasant ditty from what I can only imagine to be a group of Hungarian farming types. Quality. The only downside is that there's only 9 tracks on the album. WHY, OH LORD? WHY?!
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on 13 August 2007
I wasn't to sure when I first listened to this record, as is it slightly different to their previous stuff - mainly not as poppy as their more famous tracks from 'I Should Coco' and 'Supergrass', which may disappoint those with only a passing interest in Supergrass, but also not as dark/crunchy as 'In It For The Money'.

However, this is simply the best album I have listened to in the last couple of years. It's complete, accomplished, with beautiful tracks, beautiful voice, everything just seems to fit together beautifully. I think it is their best album yet by far and, as another reviewer points out, is far superior to a lot of catchy, shallow, guitar music which is currently popular. Not that I'm having a dig at other bands - I like that music too - just here you have an album with depth, layers of sound and instruments, and just great songs.
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on 21 September 2005
First off all, let's get the past out of the way. This is no I Should Coco..if you are looking to the past for an idea of the sound, you can't go far wrong with Moving and Late In The Day. The album sees Supergrass in a far more adult view of life, with songs taking on a more evolved feel. The opening track Tales Of Endurance (Parts 4,5 & 6) has an almost Beatles White album feel, with the group going from one style to another all within one track. The first single St Petersburg was again an interesting choice of single, as it clearly represents the feel of the album, but lacks that instant feel that commercial radio craves. The key tracks after this are Roxy and Road To Rouen (which cranks up the album briefly). Don't get me wrong, I like this album alot..it's just if you want the short punchy singles of the past, then this won't be for you. If you want a complete album, then don't think twice...by this album...you will enjoy it.
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on 28 June 2005
I'm not going to mention how much certain tracks sound like previous Supergrass songs as a band sounding like itself is to be expected, but I reckon the boys have been listening to a lot (by which I mean A LOT) of group and solo Beatles albums since Life On Other Planets.
Tales Of Endurance (Parts 4, 5 and 6)
Starts off like a slow acoustic overture-sounding piece (making me think "concept album?"), moves into a second (part 5?) short jazzy piece, then morphs into a slow bluesy rocker with a killer riff. (What is that riff? It really reminds me of something, but I can't bring it to mind). Nice. Very nice.
St. Petersburg
Piano, acoustic guitar, jazzy drums. Builds up in to a sweeping ballad with a hint of strings. I can see this being a single (and a hit). It's incredibly infectious, immediately catchy, and I can't stop singing it. Lovely stuff. Perfect pop like this is the reason why I reckon Supergrass are the best band of the last decade or more. Quite simply, no one else is this good.
Sad Girl
This is a bit of a grower. Very, very Beatles sounding (White Album era). I didn't notice anything special about this song on first listen, but on second listen it gets in under the psyche and, sure enough, it's another pop masterpiece.
The longest track on the album. Classic Supergrass catchy chorus. Unusual tempo changes (did someone mention The Beatles?) and Gaz singing very sweetly before it goes off into an extended jam with strings, bass and synthy swirls prominent in the mix, before building into a late Beatles psychedelic breakdown a-la A Day In The Life. Will be killer live.
Coffee In The Pot
The shortest track on the album. An instrumental latin dance swing number interspersed with the lads singing "Oi!". Lovely, slightly out of tune, guitar sound. Finishes far too soon. My second favourite after St. Petersburg. If this doesn't end up being used as the theme tune for a British TV show (maybe it already is?) I'll be very surprised.
Road To Rouen
The title track is a straight-out rocker. Yet another killer riff with a funky baseline. Definitely meant to be played and appreciated in its fullness live.
Kick In The Teeth
Begins with a killer riff that sounds like the near cousin of Day Tripper. Catchy as all hell and another one that will have the crowd jumping when it's played live.
Low C
An acoustic number with infectious almost honky-tonk piano. Sounds like something John Lennon and George Harrison might have done together after they'd gone solo (what a shame that never happened). Poppy, catchy tune. Sweet.
Gorgeous Spanish-sounding guitar intro and an also a Lennonesque song. Lovely.
Overall the album is a departure from previous efforts with the lads being adventurous and experimental without losing that essential Supergrass ear for a catchy tune with a great hook. There's only a couple of real rockers, but those that do rock will become live favourites, I'm sure. The pop tunes, especially St. Petersburg, are up to their usual very high standard. If oasis can make a career out of ripping-off The Beatles then I reckon a brilliantly original band like Supergrass have earned the right to pay tribute (by re-interpretation) to the fab four. Great album.
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on 27 November 2005
This is classical rock music in the tradition of the beatles, Lennon solo and the Who ('coffee in the pot' is typical the Who humour), that's to mention a few. All new music nowadays is getting less and less innovative and going back all the time to the great bands in the 60's and 70's. Does that mean it is annoying that it already been done before? NO... Or is it in anyway possible to be great music then? Yes. It is beautifully produced and the arrangements are perfectly done. There is a lot of hard work in here. Although it is a bit short - road to rouen the song could be made easily 5 minutes longer - every second of music on this album is very much enjoyable.
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on 17 August 2005
When I first listened to the album, I found it to be a bit of a let down. However, as I listened to it again and again I have found that even though it only has 9 songs; they are all to a high quality. It is rare these days that I will listen to an album from start to finish without skipping any songs, but this album does not have any filler in my view.
Hope they continue to release music well in to the future.
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on 22 August 2005
You can never judge an album from one listen, and I purposefully wanted to give 'Road to Rouen' that little longer to exact its influence given all the advanced comments about it being Supergrass 'in different packaging'. First and foremost, this is a wonderfully executed album, its melody simply roars out from the first chord and finishes tenderly with the excellent 'Fin'.
Its certainly not what we have come to expect from the 'Grass' but then, is that necessarily a bad thing? 'Don't Believe the Truth' is a vast improvement on recent fayre for Oasis, but it still seems to be pleading for the quality of yesteryear and 'Definitely Maybe'. The same can be said for X&Y, which plays far too safe in the light of 'Rush of Blood to the Head'. This is where the four lads from Oxford gain real credit. They are not afraid to break the mould even if it is to the cost of Parlophone's pockets. They have arguably written some of their deepest and best stuff in recent years 'Eon' and 'Evening of the Day' to name but two, and have gone largely unheralded. They are paying for simply having lasted the pace for a decade, which is no longer acceptable in these modern times where NME are as quick to forget you once your third album sales have levelled off.
This album has balance, creativity, poignancy and a remarkable freshness and the fact it only just scrapes past 30 minutes is an irrelevance in my opinion. If you have nine tracks as wonderfully crafted as this why try to strangle the album and upset the flow. After all, its only with the demise of vinyl that we have become accustomed to albums touching an hour. 'Roxy' is the standout track, but 'Tales of Endurance' and 'Road to Rouen' itself run it close.
Sadly, it is almost an inevitability that this album will not have the commercial impact of 'I Should Coco' or 'In It for the Money'. Nor will it score well with fans of the earlier Supergrass material. However, sounding like a blend of Thin Lizzy, The Beatles and Floyd this album doesn't need mass approval. It simply demands it every time you are lucky enough to partake in its 35 minute journey.
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on 19 December 2006
I'm a big fan of Supergrass. They seem to be one of those bands that 'just get on with it', and quietly make interesting, well written varied albums. There is one track which they succumb to their 'wacky' sense of humour, but overall it's a lovely record. Along with Blur, they seem to be one of the few bands that have consistently produced good albums, rather than focusing on singles. It also grows on you with every listen.
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