Supergrass, I Should Coco
Embodying youth above all else
The best thing about "Caught by the Fuzz," a Buzzcocks-like song about getting pinched for marijuana possession, is that singer/guitarist Gaz Coombes isn't sneering at the police or fretting over a night in jail. He's most worried about getting reprimanded by his dear old mum. Playing the role of kid brother in the mid-'90s Britpop movement, Oxford's Supergrass — Coombes, bassist Mick Quinn and drummer Danny Goffey — embodied youth above all else. 1995 debut I Should Coco is well-remembered for "Alright," whose carefree declaration of "We are young/ We run green" over a lilting piano riff made it a perfectly bubbly fit on the Clueless soundtrack. ("Complaint rock" it is not.) For all its enthusiasm and raw energy, however, I Should Coco doesn't sound like a band that's just grown out of short pants; it never mistakes short, fast blasts of mod/punk songwriting for actual momentum. Supergrass achieves the latter through mid-song twists of melody (it seems too old-fashioned to call them bridges) and the occasional deployment of Coombes's chattering falsetto. Not to mention the oddity of "We're Not Supposed To," a helium-voiced social commentary that falls under Ween's jurisdiction of stoned inspiration. As Coco flies by, pause to notice the pairing of opener "Strange" and mid-album track "Strange Ones," which comprise the record's theme: escaping your middle-class milieu to find people in this world who are just as strange as you are can be one of life's biggest challenges. Supergrass's sound and sentiment on its debut are reminiscent of another generation's British youth-movement band; you know, the one that sings about a teenage wasteland.