The Supernaturals - Manchester Hop & Grape - 21.11.01

Apart from having their hit single "Smile" played on television adverts every now and again its been extremely quite on the Supernaturals front. They've signed to a new record label and in the Spring are releasing their new album "What We Did Last Summer" and tonight its a bit of a strange one - a support slot for the Proclaimers!!! And when they walked on stage I had to do a quick double take as I only recognized the singer and guitarist from the original line up....oh how times have changed from the hedonistic days of Britpop!!!

Was I to witness a revolutionary new sound and radical change of direction? In short the answer is no. The new material tries the successful formulas of high pitched vocals, witty wordplay, catchy melodies and sing along chorus'. On the surface its no bad thing as the Supernaturals push the pop sound to the limits, however as the set progressed it was clear that the band were simply treading water and going through the motions. There's nothing actually wrong with the new songs as such, its just that they seem a little over familiar. When they slip a few of their hits into the set like "Smile", "The Day Before Yesterday" and "Wasn't Built To get Up" you're reminded of what the band are capable of. Unsurprisingly they are the songs which receive almost ecstatic reactions from the crowd.

The recent single "Finishing Credits" was banned from the radio as the lyrics "End of the world / We'd blow it" were deemed unsuitable following the September 11th atrocities but you know what...its a great little toe-tapper. Standing head and shoulders above the new songs is the weird and wonderful "Life Is A Motorway " which features a lyric name checking the destinations of the United Kingdom and deep gregorian chanting all wrapped up in a pop sensibility Steps would give their right teeth for. These charming men may not be exactly cutting edge, but they put on an entertaining and enjoyable performance I for one appreciated whole heatedly.

Nicholas Paul Godkin