Once an irresistibly goofy Britpop trio with ungainly muttonchop sideburns, the guys in Supergrass have reached a point of maturity where they finally seem more interested in studying the menu than in making goo-goo eyes at the waitress. On their fifth full-length, Oxford's retro-groovers have outgrown monosyllabic teen anthems to embrace the emotional complexities of ensuing middle age: disappointment, anger and cool resolve. Prog-baiting opener "Tales of Endurance (Parts 4, 5 & 6)" eases from a lone acoustic ballad into a full-blown symphony of swirling organs and brass-accented pageantry, complete with all the king's horses and men. Equally evocative, "St. Petersburg," the album's unlikely loungecore single, employs a string quartet straight out of a James Bond soundtrack. The heart of the album, "Roxy," pays tribute to front man Gaz Coombe's late mother (along with Magical Mystery Tour-era Beatles), signifying a welcome change in direction for a band that's not only older and wiser, but a hell of a lot more compelling because of it.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.