Say what you like about Britpop, debate its merits in the grand scheme of things, and pontificate to your heart's content on whether its lasting influence is a good thing or not; at the end of the day, when the Big Guns either disbanded (Blur) or became a laughing stock (Oasis), there is one band who have stood the test of time without falling prey to either fate. That band, ladies and gentlemen, is Supergrass.
1995's debut I Should Coco was a shot-in-the-arm of fuzzy, snappy pop-punk, and since then, the Oxford quartet have steadily evolved, turning in consistently good albums without ever taking themselves too seriously. After the quiet reception of 2005's downbeat Road to Rouen, though, Coombes and co. are back with their trademark brisk-glam-with-a-twist. Diamond Hoo Ha is a confident, self-assured album that dazzles, zips and dips with a cheeky charm, one which sounds like the 'Grass have spent the past three years listening to a lot of AC/DC, Queen and Deep Purple.
Many tracks subsequently pay homage to the sleazy retro fuzz of Seventies glam and metal (Diamond Hoo Ha Man, Whisky and Green Tea, Bad Blood), but there are also several gorgeous breezy pop numbers (Return of Inspiration makes a lasting impression, as does the Franz Ferdinand-meets-Divine Comedy of Rebel In You, and the bouncy wistfulness of the Elvis Costello-plundering Ghost of a Friend). And another thing: Gaz Coombes's voice is more emotive and multi-faceted than most give him credit for - something that's abundantly clear at points on this album.
Supergrass just aren't the kind of band that will redefine a genre, but over the course of their career, they've ensured that their musical legacy is one that will endure. Diamond Hoo Ha, with its rough, brazen glamour, consolidates that fact.