Supergrass officially split but is it really the end?

The Bad News

Oh dear, well first of all it’s absolutely official: we got the sad news on Monday that Oxford rockers Supergrass have finally decided to call it a day after 17 years and six studio albums.  And we have two official reasons to contend with: a “17-year itch” and – hey presto! -“musical differences”.   But I’m told by an insider that it’s “all good”: the breakup was amicable and the members of the band will no doubt continue with their musical careers in different directions. 

The Memories

You’ll have difficulty finding anyone of a certain age who doesn’t have some fond memory of the band and their cheeky, kick-arse sound.  I for one associate their earlier Caught by the Fuzz/Alright stuff from the I Should Coco album with teenage angst (that’s not their fault!) and developments in songs like Richard III, Late in  the Day, and Moving, like many others, with my university years.  I had the pleasure of seeing them play three times, the last of which was in the Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh (oh, double grief!) in March 2008.  It’s a testament to the band’s enduring quality and appeal that this gig rocked and so did Diamond Hoo Ha, their final allbum which they were plugging at the time.  

And let’s not forget about their interesting foray into the world of the folksy, bluesy, string and melodic whatever-you-call-it music in Road to Rouen.  While many saw this as an unexpectedly somber album which reflected a difficult period in the band’s career and personal lives, you can’t help respecting their ability to change and experiment, nor can you deny that their cheeky, edgy sound breaks through on this record and complements its contemplative edge.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Is this really the end?  First things first, let’s focus on the immediate future, which promises a brief farewell tour, with the band playing gigs in Glasgow, London, Manchester and finally Paris on the 11th June.  I’ll tell you now: I’m in the market for a Glasgow ticket, but what a fantastic reason to go to Paris! 

And further ahead? Well, for two reasons I’m very optimistic that we’ll see some of the old magic before too long.  Firstly, judging by what the band have been doing image-wise (i.e. fecking around with alternative identities like Diamond Hoo Ha Men and The Hot Rats), it’s clear that some of the boys’ creative juices are flowing strongly and they’re evidently poised to develop new ideas, and indeed have already been toying with them.  Secondly, I look to the Coombes brothers, three of whom were on the line-up on the last tour.  You might call it quits on the band, but family is family!  Have a listen to Charlie Coombes and the New Breed for a taste of this.

My bets?  I’d look out for more from the likes of the Hot Rats, but I suspect there’ll be considerably more still.

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