Road To Rouen
Released: 9/2005
Label: Capitol
Catalog #: 38392
Rating:  Not Yet Rated

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CD Available (2-3 day) No No $17.99

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Mojo, September 2005:  “Sitting down to write in 2025, the Mojo scribe, retro-chic iPod in hand, will ruminate on the really cool British bands of the '90s and the noughties. And the two names that'll come up are, I'll wager, Supergrass and Super Furry Animals. From the mists of time, their music will appear more original and weird and pertinent to their era than any other. They'll have a musical depth and resonance and variety that, say, Blur or Oasis wouldn't begin to possess. Trouble is that, just as The Small Faces and Traffic, or even The Kinks, often looked like innovative but unfathomable oddballs in the late '60s, pushed ever further into the commercial margins, so Supergrass's symbolic relation to the present now seems kind of tenuous. To wit: how can a group who make such consistently brilliant records mean bugger all to most people? The answer, logically, will take twenty years to surface. Meanwhile, ROAD TO ROUEN (get it?) carries on the tradition of being another perfectly formed glam-pop-psych Supergrass album, only this time with an added bucketful of melancholy that lends it the feel of some beautiful emission from a dying star. Such, perhaps, is Supergrass's own indifference to being pop contenders again that nothing here remotely resembles a hit single, let alone a reprise of Britpop smashes like ‘Alright’ or ‘Pumping On Your Stereo.’ Songs wash over you dreamily or chug wryly, all wistful seaside piano, atmospheric guitars, doomy percussion and insidious, nagging melodies. The unwitting motif is moving on, not for exciting new pastures, but merely from fear of standing still. ‘Don't look back 'cos it's far to fall!’ cries Gaz Coombes on opener, ‘Tales Of Endurance Pts 4, 5 &6,’ marrying a swaying Charlatans riff to a scratchy Franz Ferdinand funk-out. The beautiful ‘St Petersburg,’ like a psychedelic take on Neil Young's HARVEST MOON, makes you think of Young and '70s camp popsters, Sailor, waltzing on acid. Variety is here in spades. This is a fine record, a real grower, but it also sees a group comfortably adrift, with a resigned, baleful smile. In 20 years it'll all make perfect sense.” 4/5

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